Belfast Telegraph

Zak Brennan: Family of Belfast boy battling rare cancer hope GAWA backing will take him to US for pioneering treatment

By Claire Williamson

The family of a Belfast boy who is battling a rare and aggressive childhood cancer are hoping to raise much needed funds at Windsor Park as Northern Ireland take on Croatia.

Zak Brennan (3) has Neuroblastoma and his parents are desperate to raise £134,000 for pioneering treatment in the United States.

The family have already raised over £80,000 and they are counting on the generosity of the thousands of Northern Ireland fans to move them closer to the all-important target.

Dad Gareth said: “I would like to thank the Irish Football Association for giving us this invaluable opportunity to help get Zak the treatment he needs. Zak is a huge Northern Ireland fan and the Green and White Army are the best and most generous supporters in the world.”

Just over a year ago, Zak Brennan was a happy toddler – running, playing and enjoying a holiday with his parents.

Within weeks, he had become seriously ill and was given the diagnosis.

After a devastating year of chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplants and radiotherapy, time is running out to find a more permanent cure - with the best possible chance offered by cutting-edge trials in America.

Mum Leeanne and dad Gareth - launched the Zakky Brennan Fund in a bid to raise enough money to get their son the pioneering new treatment.

Gareth said: “The treatment Zak has had with the NHS has been exceptional but this cancer is really aggressive and to give him the best chance, we need to get this treatment in the US. Thankfully, he has been accepted onto this clinical trial pending end of treatment scans, but now we have to raise this huge sum of money to get him there."

The family have received the support of hundreds of individuals, dozens of local businesses as well as comedian Alan Carr and boxer Carl Frampton.

“Time is running out for us to raise this money. He would need to start treatment in the US in January so we only have a short time to raise a lot of money. Zak is a fighter. He’s had some dark days in the course of his treatment here in Northern Ireland but he gives it everything and we are determined to do everything we can for him," Gareth added.

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