“Ollie is a lovely boy who endured months of gruelling operations and treatment with courage, determination and humour that has astounded us all." - Terry and Jacqui Gardiner, whose grandson, Ollie, is fighting recurrent medulloblastoma
Twelve-year-old Ollie Gardiner is set to become one of a small group of patients to receive a treatment being trialled for childhood brain tumours after an astonishing fundraising campaign launched by his family.
The schoolboy from Buckinghamshire was first diagnosed with medulloblastoma in May 2015. Surgeons removed half of the tumour during an eight-hour operation which left him unable to speak, swallow, stand or use his right hand.
Despite two further operations and a punishing regime of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Ollie learned to walk, talk and eat independently once again.
But after a scan in September revealed the medulloblastoma had returned in highly aggressive form, Ollie's parents, Jane and Pete, were told that nothing more could be done for him.
Now they have raised £100,000 to fund Ollie's treatment privately, with a new mixture of drugs that will be delivered directly into his brain.
The treatment, which is being trialled in the US and Austria, is known as MEMMAT (metronomic and targeted anti-angionesis therapy for children with recurrent/progressive medulloblastoma).
The aim is to find a new option for children whose medulloblastoma is currently classed as untreatable, prolonging their survival at the same time as maintaining a good quality of life.
Doctors have agreed to give Ollie the treatment in London, although he will not be part of the formal trial.
He is expected to have a 'brain reservoir' and chemotherapy port installed within the next week to allow the delivery of drugs into his brain.
The treatment itself is likely to begin after a two-week recovery period.
The Gardiners' Just Giving fundraising campaign, Ollie's Fund, has attracted huge support from friends, family and the local community.
The family, who have raised money themselves for The Brain Tumour Charity since Ollie's diagnosis, said on their Facebook page they were 'amazed and humbled' by donors' generosity.
Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “We are all thinking of Ollie and his family as they prepare for his new round of treatment.
“The Gardiners' experience shows why it is so important that we keep funding research into more effective childhood brain tumour treatments that can be made widely available.
“Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of so many people, Ollie and his parents have hope - something that is denied to too many families affected by a brain tumour."