Photo Gallery: Norwich’s Charlie Ryan returns to where he wants to be – with his family

Charlie Ryan is back in Norfolk with his family for Christmas and New Year. Charlie with his mum Sam

Charlie Ryan is back in Norfolk with his family for Christmas and New Year. Charlie with his mum Sam and dad Tony. Photo: Bill Smith

Charlie Ryan's smile shows he's exactly where he wants to be – at home in Norwich with his family.

His wish this year was to spend Christmas in Costessey, and his parents fought to make this dream come true, flying back from their home in Australia.

But six-year-old Charlie had a relapse and then suffered a stroke on New Year's Eve, exactly three years after his neuroblastoma cancer diagnosis.

Mum Sam Stroud, 37, and dad Tony Ryan, 46, have had to take Charlie to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital almost daily for platelet transfusions.

Miss Stroud said: 'We thought we might lose him on New Year's Eve but he 'did a Charlie' and bounced back again.'


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Charlie has suffered three relapses since he was first given the all-clear in July 2012, the latest just before Christmas.

Before his stroke, Charlie complained of pain after Boxing Day.

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She said: 'It has been downhill since then. Each day you just don't know what's going to happen. It's hard to manage – each time you cure it, it just comes back even harder.'

Charlie, a Star Wars fan, was last given the all-clear in September after radiation therapy, but the cancer has returned and, with tumours putting pressure on his brain, he has suffered from three strokes in the past six months.

'They told us there is nothing more they can do so there's not much time left unless a miracle comes up,' said Miss Stroud. 'I think he understands – he has been more cuddly because he knows he is more sick.'

The family moved from Norwich to Perth in Western Australia in 2008 for what was supposed to be the start of a bright future.

But in December 2010 they were told the bad news that Charlie had tumours all over his body.

Miss Stroud said: 'As a mother I have never felt so hopeless; we can't imagine life without him.

'Sometimes we feel like we've let him down.

'So far he has had this battle for half of his life but still smiles when you ask him to.'

Charlie begged to fly to the UK in December, and with the go-ahead from doctors, the family flew from Australia on December 13, and were due to return home on January 8.

Charlie enjoyed the first part of his visit, playing Lego with his cousins and sister Orla, four, and waiting for Father Christmas.

'Even on Boxing Day when we went to Build-a-Bear, he was running around Chapelfield,' said Miss Stroud.

But because of Charlie's quick deterioration the family has no plans to return to Australia.

Miss Stroud said: 'I don't think we'll get him home now – here is where he wants to be, that's why we came for Christmas.

'He wants to stay here with his nanny and cousins. He had that determination to get here – that's what helped his recovery before.'

Mr Ryan said he would like to thank all their friends and family and the staff at the Jenny Lind Children's Hospital in Norwich.

The family also thanked everyone who has contributed to the Charlie's Angels appeal.

Keep up with the latest news about Charlie, fundraising events and details of charities his family is working with by joining the group, Charlie our Superhero, on Facebook.

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