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Mum's fundraising bid to get lifesaving treatment for her son suffers setback

By Lisa Smyth

Published 03/09/2016

Appeal: Billy with mum Charlotte
Appeal: Billy with mum Charlotte

A mum's desperate bid to take her son to the US for lifesaving treatment is under threat after his condition took a turn for the worse.

Charlotte Caldwell had to rush her 11-year-old son, Billy, to hospital last week after he suffered three seizures in one day.

She is being forced to take her youngest son to America for treatment, at a cost of up to £300,000.

However, she had to cancel a major charity event - due to take place on the same day - and now the mum of two is terrified she will not raise enough cash in time for Billy to get the treatment he needs. She is being forced to take him to America for the treatment as it is not available here.

Charlotte has also revealed her disappointment after Health Minister Michelle O'Neill failed to respond to a letter she wrote begging for help to save Billy.

"I feel let down, I haven't even had an acknowledgement that she received the letter," said Charlotte.

The youngster from Castlederg developed a deadly form of epilepsy when he was a baby.

Doctors in Belfast said they were unable to help him, so Mrs Caldwell launched a fundraising drive to take him to the US for pioneering treatment not available here.

She raised enough money to take him to Chicago and after two years of intensive treatment there and another two years in England, Billy learned to walk and his seizures were brought under control. However, Charlotte was left devastated just a matter of months ago when Billy's seizures began to return.

"Last Friday he had three seizures and he was in a terrible state. I took him to the doctor and they told me to get him to A&E," she said.

"They did all the tests and think that the seizures had just taken so much out of his wee body, he had nothing left."

Ms Caldwell has rearranged the charity dinner dance for tonight.

Tickets for the event, at the Fir Trees Hotel in Strabane, are available by logging on to the Keep Billy Alive Facebook page.

Donations to the appeal can be made at the Keep Billy Alive Crowdfunding page.

Belfast Telegraph

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