Five-year-old boy returns home after first round of cancer treatment in New York – Surrey Live

By daniellenierenberg

A five-year-old boy has returned from New York where he is taking part in a pioneering medical trial aimed at preventing his cancer from returning.

Oliver Stephenson from West Yorkshire was given the all-clear earlier this year after battling neuroblastoma a rare cancer originating from immature nerve cells throughout 2020.

His family crowdfunded 270,000 for treatment as the schoolboy underwent chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell treatment and a bone marrow transplant.

At one point, Oliver and his dad James had to isolate together in a 15sqft hospital room for seven weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Oliver has spent the past month at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he is on a clinical trial vaccine called Bivalent.

It is hoped the treatment will train his immune system to identify and destroy neuroblastoma cells lurking in his body to prevent the disease from returning.

The vaccine, which costs 210,000, will require Oliver to make four more trips to the US this year.

He returned from the four-week trip to New York around a week ago with his mum Laura, dad James and little brother Alfie.

Mrs Stephenson said: "Everything went great. The doctors were all amazing and Oliver has responded well so far.

"It is a clinical trial so we don't know what will happen but we are hoping that this will prevent Oliver from suffering as he has done again.

"After everything he has been through it feels great to be on a positive track."

She added the treatment was "quick and easy", explaining Oliver had three vaccines and that, other than some discomfort, he had no obvious side effects.

Due to the length of their stay, Mrs Stephenson said the family were able to make a holiday out of the trip.

She added: "Oliver and Alfie had a brilliant time in New York, it was amazing.

"Because of the pandemic everywhere was really quiet, which meant we felt very safe all the time and didn't have to queue for anything."

The pioneering treatment comes almost 18 months after Oliver was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, which affects around 100 children annually.

The coronavirus pandemic complicated the family's ordeal as Oliver and his dad had to isolate together in hospital during chemotherapy.

Mr Stephenson was at his son's bedside throughout, but the rest of his family were unable to visit due to restrictions and had to make do with video calls.

Crowdfunding pages were set up to help the family pay for treatment once options on the NHS were exhausted, as neuroblastoma has a significant chance of returning.

Mrs Stephenson added: "The incredible support and donations not just from our friends and family but around the world has been overwhelming.

"We are so grateful to everyone who has helped.

"It's been a really difficult year for us and back in 2020 Oliver's prognosis wasn't good at all.

"But he has battled through everything is doing well now, he's fit and strong and even back at school.

Despite Oliver getting the all-clear, figures show 60% of people who recovered from neuroblastoma end up relapsing.

Mrs Stephenson said: "We want to everything we can to stop that happening."

Throughout Oliver's treatment, his family has been supported by the Solving Kids Cancer charity.

Original post:
Five-year-old boy returns home after first round of cancer treatment in New York - Surrey Live

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