Family of brave Caine Ross raise £21k for hospital as he waits for op
A family who have raised more than £20,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital say they will keep on fighting after revealing a life-saving operation on their son has not been completely successful.
The Ross family from Castledawson started on a fundraising mission for the world famous children's hospital, where nine-year-old Caine was treated for a benign brain tumour early in 2017.
At the time they were waiting anxiously for news on whether the operation to remove the tumour which was causing little Caine to suffer seizures - but the trip to London has turned out to be a bittersweet experience.
Mum Donna said: "Caine really enjoyed the trip to London and loved being the centre of attention.
"We had a tour of the city and went to see the Lion King at the theatre to make it as fun as possible for him.
"But after the operation we had to wait for some time before finding out whether it had been completely successful.
"Unfortunately it hasn't been. Doctors confirmed they haven't managed to get the tumour removed completely, so we're now waiting to go back for another operation.
"He's now on a higher dose of medication than before his operation.
"It's not exactly the outcome we wanted, but the experts are very confident they'll get the rest of the tumour when Caine goes back over. We'll just have to wait for a date to return and go through the same procedure again."
Such was the care and attention Caine received at Great Ormond Street, Donna and her family decided to start fundraising for the world famous children's hospital - and last month they were back in London to hand over a cheque for an incredible £21,500,
"We've been overwhelmed by the generosity of the community," said Donna.
"I thought if we could raise £5,000 we'd be doing well but my family said to aim for £10,000. To raise more than double that amount was fantastic.
"We're thrilled to have done so much for the hospital that have done so much for Caine. We just want to thank everyone, all the schools and community groups and individuals, who have supported us."
Now the family are waiting again for the call to go back for a second operation.
A pupil at Spires Integrated Primary School in Magherafelt, Caine - a Chelsea supporter and a young player with Rainey Rhinos in Magherafelt - started taking fits in 2015 and was initially diagnosed with epilepsy and prescribed medication.
However, when he still continued to suffer seizures, his parents, Donna and Darryl, fought for doctors to investigate further.
In November of that year, the couple were told the devastating news that their little boy had a benign brain tumour. The family fought to have Caine referred to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital (GOSCH) in London and in January 2017 Caine made the journey to have surgery to remove the tumour.
His recovery had been steady, but now Donna says the symptoms are returning as the operation wasn't as successful as they had hoped.
"We're doing what we can to cope as a family," she said.
"It's never easy to him struggle, but he's been so brave.
"He's been back at school and doing so well, but his medication is now at a level higher than before the operation and there are days when he's so tired he can't go to school.
"But he's a fighter and we'll fight with him.
"We just want word that he can go back to London sooner rather than later."
Caine's courage has inspired his family to focus on fundraising for an MRI scanner at the Koala Ward at GOSCH.
Donna said: "From the very start, it was a fight. A fight to get the right doctors, then after diagnosis, a fight to get the right treatment at the right hospital.
"There are so many things that I never considered before, until you are on that pathway, you just never think about."
She added: "When he was first diagnosed, it was as if we had got on a roller coaster which was going around and around in circles, but once we knew where we were headed, the one thing that we were very passionate about was giving something back.
"In the beginning we had to be strong, not just for Caine but for all our boys, Caleb, Christian and Caspar, but after all Great Ormond Street have done for us as a family it was time to give something back for the care and kindness that we received.
"It is the unknown which is the worst but we hope that with the community's help and support, we will be able to make it better for another family in the same position."