Plymouth parents' plea for £500,000 to save their three-year-old 'superhero'
THE parents of a chronically-ill three-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a superhero are urging the public to help them raise the £500,000 needed to save his life.
Henry Hallam, from Stoke, was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a very aggressive type of childhood cancer, last September – and is unlikely to be allowed home to Plymouth from Bristol Children's Hospital until October.
His mum Elsbeth Hallam, a nurse at Derriford Hospital, said: "Our worst nightmares were confirmed when we were given the devastating news that our little man had cancerous tumours all over his little body.
"They were almost everywhere except his feet. Our whole world collapsed around us, for that moment time stood still.
"Our little Henry had cancer, the worst kind of cancer possible. Over the days and weeks that followed we started to learn about Neuroblastoma and learnt that even if Henry does beat this monster there is an 80 per cent chance it will come back, and no treatment available in the UK if it does."
Twenty-nine-year-old Elsbeth and her husband Michael, who also have a nine-week-old daughter called Georgina, have made a heartfelt plea to the people of Plymouth to help them raise half a million pounds, which will enable little Henry to have specialist treatment in the United States.
"Henry loves hugs, he also loves Superman and Spider-Man and dreams of being a superhero when he grows up," Elsbeth said.
"Henry is already a superhero in our eyes, but we are urging people to please help us to give Henry the chance to grow up."
Little Henry's diagnosis came following several weeks of being unwell.
"In August Henry bumped his head and developed an egg shaped bump over his right temple," said Elsbeth. "Being a nurse and seeing that he had no head injury symptoms I kept an eye on him.
"However, the lump didn't go down and two weeks later Henry woke up with pain in his legs when he stood up and hours later he developed a strange limp."
Henry's parents took him to A&E, where they were told to keep an eye on him and sent the youngster home.
"Henry got worse, and two days later I could take no more so we took him to an out-of-hours GP," said Elsbeth. "The next few hours passed by in a complete blur of tests and referrals. Inside, I was petrified it was something really serious.
"He was rushed to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol because they thought he had a bleed on the brain, but an MRI scan the next morning saw us receive the worst possible news any parent could get. Henry was riddled with tumours. Even though I knew the worst had been confirmed I kept thinking they must be wrong; not our little Henry."
Henry was transferred to Bristol Children's Hospital on September 24, where he was immediately started on intensive 70-day chemotherapy. He has since undergone stem cell harvesting, surgery to remove a tumour, stem cell transplant and another bout of intensive chemotherapy.
Elsbeth said that since they have been in hospital they have watched three other children die from Neuroblastoma.
The family have been told it unlikely they will be able to return to their Plymouth home until the end of October – some 13 months after Henry was first taken to Bristol – when Henry is hoped to have finished undergoing treatment.
"We have been told there is an 80 per cent chance it will come back so we need to get him to America as soon as possible where he can have a T-Cell transplant and or antibody treatment, not available in the UK," Elsbeth added. "We just need to give him the chance to grow up and to know his little sister. No child should have to go through this."
Henry's family have teamed up with national charity Families against Neuroblastoma to launch the £500,000 campaign.
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/HenryHallamAppeal.
You can also donate to his appeal by texting HUGS80, along with an amount between £1 and £10, to 70070.