IT’S the support and help the family of a teenage boy with an inoperable brain tumour were dreaming of.
Scores of people have come forward to pledge money or to organise events to help raise at least £100,000 for Sam John.
As reported in yesterday, the 16-year-old, of Albert Road, Fareham, was diagnosed with the brain tumour when he was nine years old.
Despite his condition being stable for a few years, a test earlier this month found the tumour had started to grow.
He needs specialist radiotherapy treatment, called proton beam therapy, to stop it from growing further.
As it is not available in the UK, the family is waiting to ﬁnd out if Sam meets criteria so the NHS will pay for them to go over to America. But if their application is refused, the family will have to shell out up to between £100,000 and £200,000 for 10 weeks’ stay and treatment at a hospital in Florida.
The family said that in the past 24 hours they have inundated with phone calls, emails and messages on social networking site Facebook, of people wanting to help.
Dad Steve, 44, said: ‘The Facebook response has taken us completely by surprise. We have been overwhelmed and astounded by the level of interest it’s created.
‘With this much initial interest, we can’t afford to let the focus slip or we’ll waste the early momentum we’ve gained.’
The decision on whether the NHS will pay for Sam’s treatment rests on whether a panel decides he should be treated as an adult or a child.
A panel from the NHS Specialised Services is looking in to the case. Patients are classed as adults if they are 16 or over.
Despite Sam battling with the tumour for seven years, he turned 16 two months ago, and it was after this that his case was put forward for proton therapy funding.
This means he is more than likely going to be assessed as an adult.
There are 12 types of diagnosis that qualify a child for the treatment – but only three for adults.
Sam’s diagnosis is not one of those three, meaning the family may have to pay.
But his family are determined to get him the treatment.
‘Sam is getting the treatment. We have an action plan and we’re going for it, how we get there is the only question,’ added Steve.
‘We hope and trust that the NHS will support us.
‘If it is unable to do so because of selection criteria, then though we’ll be disappointed, we’ll find another way.
‘We fully understand that the NHS has to establish rules.
‘We have nothing but praise for the NHS, and in particular everyone who has been involved in Sam’s care over the last seven years. They have all been magnificent. Without them Sam wouldn’t be here today and we are forever grateful for that.’
The family is in the process of setting up a website for the cause.
If you would like to donate, the bank account name is Mission for Sam, the account number is 47629968, and the sort code is 30-93-17. It is at the LloydsTSB branch in Fareham.