Family and friends rally to help save Rotherham teenager’s life

Iwan Clarke with mum Helen and dad Richard
Iwan Clarke with mum Helen and dad Richard
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Parents battling to raise £200,000 to pay for life saving cancer treatment for their son are almost half way to their target.

Richard and Helen Clarke, from Rawmarsh, Rotherham, are desperate for their 16-year-old son, Iwan, to take part in a treatment trial in America in a bid to cure his Leukaemia.

It has already proved successful with other cancer patients, with Iwan’s family and friends hopeful that it could save his life.

Iwan was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2009, when he was 10 years old, and despite two bone marrow transplants and repeated rounds of gruelling chemotherapy the teenager is still fighting the disease.

A trial being carried out at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Washington, involves engineering patients’ own immune cells to recognise and attack cancer.

Unable to secure NHS funding for the four-month trial and living costs, Iwan’s friends and family have organised sponsored walks, fishing events, cake bakes, fun days and sky dives.

So far £75,951.97 has been raised, with another £10,000 pledged.

In a bid to raise the rest of the cash needed, supporters are compiling a list of new sponsored events to organise over the next few months.

They hope to have enough money to pay for US trip by the summer.

Richard said he is staggered by the amount raised in just four months.

“I can’t believe that we are nearly half way to our target in just four months, “ he said.

“We are now busy thinking up new and different ways of raising the money needed to help us reach the £200,000 target and raising the profile of the campaign nationally.”

He said Iwan is already well known and supported by people in Norfolk because he is named after former Norwich City striker Iwan Roberts, but he wants people up and down the country to be made aware of his plight.

Rotherham United fans are expected to show their support for the brave teenager when a bucket collection is held at a match at New York Stadium later in the season.

“Because the treatment, albeit successful, is only a trial the NHS will not fund it, so we have to pay for it ourselves - we can’t not give it a try with the successes there have already been,” said Richard.

“Iwan recently had treatment in Sheffield, which is keeping his Leukaemia under control, but it’s not a cure. The US trial could be a cure.

“There are so many people to thank for all the effort they have made to help us raise as much as we have so far, but a team of about six people have really stood up and made it their mission to get Iwan to the US.

“We have been living with Iwan’s condition for six years now, so it has become normal for us, we don’t stop to think about it and how it is affecting us - we just keep looking forward, making plans and remaining positive...we have to.”