Rallying round for Fakenham family who had to fly to US for toddler’s cancer treatment

Staff at Drifters fish and chip shop in Fakenham, dressed up as characters from the musical Grease,

Staff at Drifters fish and chip shop in Fakenham, dressed up as characters from the musical Grease, raising money for (front) Matt, Faye and Remy Pope. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Grease will be the word this weekend, as staff at a Fakenham chip shop pay a frying visit to the 1970s.

Remy in Hospital.

Remy in Hospital. - Credit: Archant

The team at Drifters on Oak Street will be dressing up as characters from the cult musical comedy about love-struck teenagers to raise money for a special little customer.

Remy Pope, who's just two, had to be rushed to America at five days' notice to have cutting edge treatment for brain cancer.

He was a perfectly normal little boy until June, when he began to suffer seizures. A scan revealed he had a brain tumour. After a lengthy operation at Addenbrooke's Hospital, his parents Matt and Faye, who live in Hayes Lane, were told it was benign.

Then they were given the devastating news it was a rare and aggressive cancer which could not be treated in the UK.

The Popes put everything on hold and flew to Oklahoma City, where Remy underwent three months of proton beam therapy.

He was given anaesthetic five days a week for six weeks, while radiation was applied to his brain. At the end of the treatment, he picked up a blood infection, which meant he had to be placed in isolation until he was well enough to fly back to the UK, when he had to spend time in Addenbrooke's.

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While the cost of treatment in America was covered by the NHS, the couple had to fund their living expenses. Mr Pope, who runs Matt Pope Motorcycles, could not work, meaning they had no income.

'It all happened so quickly, people rallied round and tried to help us cover our expenses,' said Mrs Pope, 31. 'People have done a lot for us.

'While in Addenbrooke's we also had to cover the cost of bed and breakfasts as there was no hospital accommodation available.

'This support also enabled us to buy Remy some toys in the USA as we had gone with nothing and the time he spent isolated because of infection he was unable to go to the playroom or mix with other children.

'Some of the money will support Remy's regular visits to Addenbrooke's, fuel, parking, overnight stays and time off so he can have his parents by his side during his anaesthetics for his scans.

'We hope if more money is raised to be able to help other families in a similar situation.'

Mrs Pope, who is expecting the couple's second child in the New Year, said Remy faced scans and follow-up appointments every few weeks for the forseeable future.

Jonathan Hollings, co-owner of Drifters, said staff had dressed up for Children in Need for 15 years, but would be donating the proceeds to the Popes.

Customers at their restaurant and takeaway can donate via collecting jars tonight, tomorrow and Saturday.