New York treatment hope on hold for cancer-fighting toddler as awareness bid continues
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
One year on from a devastating diagnosis, a two-year-old is nearing the end of a gruelling treatment programme.
Lowestoft youngster Jaymen Woolston has touched hearts across East Anglia, with thousands of pounds raised in support of his battle against neuroblastoma.
The January 2019 diagnosis, shortly before his second birthday, gave Jaymen less than a 40pc chance of survival.
Yet after a successful seven-and-a-half hour operation, he is now approaching the end of a gruelling six month immunotherapy programme.
His father Jordan Woolston said: "Jaymen is doing really well. We came out of hospital on Friday from his fourth immunotherapy cycle and there is one more to go before all of his end of treatment scans.
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"It will be an anxious time but if the scans are clear we will be in a good position.
"It has been a really tough year, with the diagnosis and starting treatment, but Jaymen copes with it so well. He is so positive and wants to play like a normal child.
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"There have been ups and downs, but other parents have warned us they found the end of treatment tough too because they worry that by doing nothing it will come back."
Friends, family and complete strangers have united to support the two-year-old in every way possible, from cake sales to football matches and skydives, with Saturday's Lowestoft parkrun dedicated to Jaymen in a bid to raise awareness.
Initially, the fundraising was to help access a trial vaccine in New York. However, with no guarantees about the vaccine working and fears of a relapse, Jaymen will not be travelling to America.
Mr Woolston said: "We decided not to go ahead with the New York vaccine because the latest data is not as promising as we thought.
"It is a big worry and the toughest decision of my life, one you never imagine having to make.
"Initially, Jaymen's mum was very against going and I was all for it because I believed it would decrease his chances of a relapse.
"We had a lot of discussions about it but in the end, we came to the decision that if we were near the fundraising target and spent that money on a vaccine that didn't work, then we would be out of options.
"It is such an aggressive cancer that if it went untreated for a few months while we fundraise again, it would likely have spread, so we need to act fast.
"We will continue fundraising for the next five years and then, if he is still clear, then the money we have raised will go towards another child who needs it.
"Hopefully Jaymen will never need that money, but it gives us options to go overseas if the worst happens and he relapses.
The youngster was also the guest of honour at Cambridge United's clash with Stevenage earlier this month.
Mr Woolston said: "Cambridge were fantastic. They visited the ward at Addenbrooke's and took a shine to him because he is such a chatterbox. They invited us along for a game and treated us like royalty."
To donate, go to www.solvingkidscancer.org.uk/appeal/jaymen or text 'Jaymen' followed by a whole amount up to £20 to 70085.