Battling St Albans boy Bailey beats off his deadly disease: With Gallery
- Credit: Photo supplied
COURAGEOUS St Albans boy Bailey Sarwa, whose plight won the hearts of thousands of local people, has fought off a rare cancer for the second time in eight years.
Determined Bailey, now 13, whose motto is, “I will know no fear” has undergone a variety of gruelling treatments at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) after being diagnosed with a recurrence of neuroblastoma at the age of 12.
Fewer than 100 children in the UK are diagnosed each year with the cancer which affects specialised nerve cells.
Although Bailey will continue to have antibody treatment at the London-based hospital for the next 18 weeks, his ecstatic mum Becki Jones said that all his tests, including one on his bone marrow, had come back clear of the cancer.
The news will certainly delight his legions of kind-hearted supporters throughout the district, who banded together to urgently raise funds for the Bailey Sarwa Appeal, launched when GOSH initially refused to give the lad vital antibody treatment.
Also offering their backing were celebrities from both the sporting world and television.
Local churches meanwhile held special prayers for the plucky boy who has continued to smile despite his ordeal.
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Becki said: “Bailey is completely clear. There is no active disease, he is cured. It is like my son is a living miracle. We are ecstatic, but exhausted, because you get so many negatives and you prepare for the worse, and he has beaten all the odds.
“Bailey was so happy he just said ‘get in there’.”
Asked about people’s reaction to the great news, Becki said: “Half of them have been amazed, but the other half said they knew he would beat it; they believed in Bailey.”
Just over a year ago the Herts Advertiser publicised the distraught comments of Becki, who was beside herself with worry when her family’s lives “came crashing down” with the frightening diagnosis that neuroblastoma, which first struck Bailey at the age of four, had returned seven years after he fought it.
He had been misdiagnosed initially on numerous occasions with one doctor dismissing his sore stomach as being an imaginary ailment. But a consultant offering a second opinion discovered a large tumour in his stomach.
When the cancer returned over a year ago, GOSH initially refused vital antibody treatment, explaining it was not available to those who had relapsed or have not responded to standard treatment.
But upset friends and family refused to give up on Bailey and immediately embarked on the appeal to raise funds to send him to either Germany or the United States for antibody treatment.
What followed was an impressive array of fundraising events, from auctions and balls to celebrity football games, a dance-a-thon and wear-a-hat day at Marlborough School, where he is a pupil.
However GOSH reversed its decision and recently allowed Bailey to join just nine other children in the UK to be included in an antibody trial.
Becki said that as there was a chance the cancer would return the £150,000 raised by local people had been frozen by charity organisations holding the funds, so it would be available for Bailey should he require overseas treatment in future.
She added: “The last year-and-a-half have been like a nightmare.
“But without a doubt it’s been the kindness and support from everyone that has kept us going. They are the rocks that have made this mountain easier to climb.”