Great Yarmouth boys find out they carry same aggressive cancer gene which claimed their mother’s life
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016
Two young brothers at the centre of a fundraising appeal to give them a new life in America have found out they both carry the aggressive cancer gene that lead to the death of their mother.
The tragic twist has come as a huge blow to the family just as things were looking up and their dreams of a brighter future seemed secure, thanks to a flood of public support.
Nine-year-old Kallum Lynch battled the inherited disease that had already killed his grandmother and aunt as a toddler.
Then, after Jo Lynch died in July aged 29, the family made the decision that she never could to get his brother Jack Rayner tested.
The seven-year-old has now discovered he too has the rare gene that affects one family a year in the UK and means he has around a 95pc chance of developing cancer before he is 30.
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The boys' grandfather Patrick Lynch, of Shakespeare Road, Great Yarmouth, said it meant that moving to Los Angeles to be with his only surviving daughter Sam Wells - who is not affected - was even more pressing because more is known about the disease over there and the boys will be tested more often.
The former caterer who has lost his wife Eve and four-year-old daughter Leanne to the same cancer said he was shocked to find Jack was a carrier too, adding: 'We really did not want this to happen but at least we know and can keep an eye on him.'
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Meanwhile organisers of the Jo's Last Wish appeal have thanked everyone who donated as they prepare to bring down the curtain on the fund launched to help pay for the siblings' move to America.
An online donation page has closed but money is still coming in and the final total looks set to exceed the target by as much as £10,000.
Organisers will tonight stage their last formal event for the fund at the Gorleston Pavilion Theatre with a host of live acts and a grand raffle.
Jo Lynch who died just three weeks after the cancer was diagnosed knew her sister would take on her two boys, and arrangements were being made for them to move out there this summer.
But the adoption process proved costly and staying with Mr Lynch was not a long term option because of his ill health and the boys risked ending up in care.
In response staff at Edward Worlledge Primary School, where they are both pupils, launched an appeal for £25,000 in February, but much more has been raised as the story spread.
The surplus will be put into a trust for the boys.
Kallum's cancer treatment has left him with a host of health problems and he will need an operation on his back soon.
He is currently under Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and his details will be passed to medics in the US.
Now Jack too is awaiting further tests and scans at the hospital.
However, while little is known about the disease Li-Fraumeni Syndrome in the UK, experts across the pond hold an annual conference and there are child cancer specialists at the hospital in LA.
The adoption process is underway and the boys will move out there in the summer, initially on a two-year visa.
Linda Dickeson, who has been co-ordinating the fundraising effort, said everyone had been overwhelmed by the tremendous support as Kallum and Jack's story touched hearts nationwide.
She thanked the generosity of ordinary people whose small donations had added up. Around £17,000 had been raised on the Crowdfunder page, with people donating there perhaps thinking the target had not been reached.
Mrs Dickeson said: 'We have been overwhelmed by people's support and generosity. Most people have not met this family but they have all got behind the appeal.
'Everyone wanted to see them with their family and they have dug deep.'
The latest donation of over £100 had come from Cobholm Community Centre.
The lifeboat crew at Caister is treating the boys to a trip and tour on May 1, and truckers have pledged to make sure they say a fond farewell to their school in style aboard a couple of their honking giants.
The family's story is due to be told on BBC1's The One Show on May 6.
With a Little Help From My Friends is on at Gorleston Pavilion Theatres tonight at 7.30pm.
Tickets £10 on the door or in advance via 01493 662832.
To help the family contact the school office via firstname.lastname@example.org