Brave Vannie heads to US for treatment

vanniesd'Pictured is 3 years old  Vannie Arlan who has a rare form of cancer  behind his eyes and will travel to America for two weeks of therapy , pictured with mum Kirsty, and sisters Jaylan, &  Zilan.
vanniesd'Pictured is 3 years old Vannie Arlan who has a rare form of cancer behind his eyes and will travel to America for two weeks of therapy , pictured with mum Kirsty, and sisters Jaylan, & Zilan.
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A TWIN boy diagnosed with a rare form of cancer will be separated from his sister for 10 weeks when he and his mum travel to America for specialist treatment they hope will shrink his tumour.

Three-year-old Vannie Arlan will have to leave behind in Sheffield his twin sister Jaylan and big sister Zilan, five, when he and mum Kirsty Gray Oates fly to Jacksonville in Florida.

Vannie will receive proton therapy on the rhabdomyosarcoma behind his eye and within the side of his face.

The treatment is a more precise form of radiation therapy, which destroys cancer cells with less damage to surrounding tissue.

Single mum Kirsty and the rest of the family are also busy fundraising to pay for a revamp of the garden of their Crookesmoor home so Vannie has somewhere nice to play.

Kirsty, 30, said: “Of course we don’t want to go and leave the others behind but there isn’t the funding for them to come along too.

“They are too little to really understand what is going on and it’s going to be heartbreaking splitting them up.

“But if it helps Vannie to get better then it will all be worth it.”

Kirsty first became concerned about Vannie when she noticed a swelling on the side of his face. She took him to the doctor who said he had an eye infection and prescribed antibiotics.

But three days later, when the swelling had not gone down, Kirsty took him to Sheffield Children’s Hospital and he was diagnosed in just three days - on Christmas Eve - after an MRI scan.

Vannie began gruelling chemotherapy, which left him battling in intensive care .

A proposed operation to try to remove the mass would have resulted in him losing an eye.

But Kirsty said: “In the end they decided the procedure was too risky - they had never done it on a child before and it was too dangerous.”

Now proton therapy is the only option left.

n Email Kirstully@yahoo.co.uk if you can help with their fundraising appeal.