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Parents of cancer patient Oscar ‘gobsmacked’ after £500,000 appeal success

The money is needed to help send five-year-old Oscar Saxelby-Lee to Singapore for a clinical trial.

Oscar’s parents launched an appeal to raise £500,000 to fund treatment for their son (Family handout/PA)
Oscar’s parents launched an appeal to raise £500,000 to fund treatment for their son (Family handout/PA)

By Richard Vernalls, PA

The parents of a five-year-old boy battling leukaemia have been “gobsmacked” after the success of a £500,000 appeal to pay for lifesaving treatment.

Oscar Saxelby-Lee has been locked in a race against time to raise money for a CAR-T clinical trial in Singapore after an unsuccessful stem cell transplant earlier this year.

But the public responded immediately and rapidly to the heartfelt appeal, launched last month, organising events from sponsored bike rides to non-uniform days.

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Oscar Saxelby-Lee had a stem cell transplant earlier this year, but his leukaemia has returned (Family/PA)

Parents Olivia Saxelby and Jamie Lee, from Worcester, announced at the weekend the huge sum had been raised in just over three weeks.

In a statement, the family said: “We are absolutely gobsmacked with the amount of humbling support we have received since the word go.

“Over the last three weeks, we have watched the people of Worcestershire and beyond work together to raise this seemingly impossible amount of money.

“It has been heart-warming to see schools, businesses, individuals and even children giving all they can.

“We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts – you are truly amazing.

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Oscar’s family have hailed fundraisers’ efforts (Family handout/PA)

The youngster underwent treatment in May after a donor search saw thousands of people from across the UK queue up for a public sign-up event in his home city to register in a bid to help.

Following the transplant procedure, Oscar was briefly cancer-free, but the leukaemia has returned.

He has T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which is difficult to treat and means he has been in and out of hospital constantly for the past nine months.

Oscar could not get further treatment through the NHS, only becoming eligible for another stem cell transplant after 12 months have passed since the first.

The only real option left for Oscar was the clinical trial in Singapore, his family said.

But time has been against the family, with Oscar needing to travel to Singapore within weeks of the appeal launching in order to be fit and well enough to proceed.

Now we have the difficult bit, the waiting. Olivia Saxelby

His parents are now urging people to keep fund-raising, in order to give Oscar a contingency fund.

Ms Saxelby said: “As we all know, this journey hasn’t gone smoothly so we must be prepared for any additional hurdles.

“Oscar has needed to receive more treatment and have further tests done whilst we have been fundraising to keep his leukaemia at bay.

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Oscar’s mother Olivia (Jacob King/PA)

“Now we have the difficult bit, the waiting.

“The initial funds are ready. Oscar’s medical team now need to wait for the results of his further tests, which determine the next steps.

“When the best treatment plan for Oscar is confirmed by his medical team, having this funding will allow us to move very quickly.

“Thank you so much to the people of Worcestershire and beyond for making this possible and once again doing everything in their power to help save our boy.”

PA

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