Three-year-old Jude is battling neuroblastoma, a rare form of the illness which affects 100 children in the UK each year, and his mum Lucy and dad Arron, a former Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper, are trying to raise £350,000 to pay for innovative treatment to reduce the chances of it coming back when his NHS treatment ends.
Thursday is due to be his 14th and final radiotherapy session at Weston Park Hospital, a site which usually helps grown-ups in their fight against the illness. But staff have gone out of their way to make Jude’s time there as happy as it can be.
Mum Lucy said: “It has been really good so far with minimal side effects and we have the highest of praise for the staff there who are dealing with Jude. We we were worried that because they don't primarily deal with children that it wouldn't be a very child friendly environment but they have done everything they can to make it special for Jude.
“He has a cushion which he lays on for the radiotherapy and they have decorated that with dinosaurs, there are always dinosaur and Elton John themed pictures on the walls as he walks in to his room and he has had Elton John and The Greatest Showman played into the room during his anaesthetic.
“The attention to detail has been second to none and has made a huge difference to Jude. He is actually looking forward to going daily which makes it so much easier for everyone.”
Lucy said she had been worried about how the adults at the hospital would respond to such a small child going through the same gruelling treatment as them but said she felt nothing but positivity with one man telling her seeing Jude each morning, so happy and smiley, had made his day. And one woman had given him some Easter eggs.
So far the appeal to help Jude has raised £52,714. You can donate on his fundraising website page, which is https://www.solvingkidscancer.org.uk/Appeal/jude.
Former Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper’s son treated at Weston Park and Sheffield Chilldren’s hospitals
Jude’s treatment has been carried out at both Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Weston Park Hospital.
But his mum and dad, Lucy and Arron, from Woodhouse Mill, are concerned about what will happen when that treatment ends, which is why they are looking to fight for an experimental course of therapy in America which they hope could significantly reduce the chances of his cancer returning in the future.
But that will not be available on the NHS, so they are raising the money themselves.
They have looked into two treatments currently being trialed in America. One is injections, the other is tablets. The idea is that it would mean his body would recognise and destroy any re-appearance of cancer cells. Any money they raise over what they need for the treatment will be donated to a charity which funds research into neuroblastoma.
While researching treatment, they realised how important the NHS was. The American hospitals price lists included a treatment which Jude received at the Children’s Hospital three times. It was listed in America at £1.4 million.