Wheathampstead boy fighting on despite results blow

PUBLISHED: 07:05 18 December 2010

A recent photo of Freddie at Greifswald in Germany, where he underwent the gruelling treatment.

A recent photo of Freddie at Greifswald in Germany, where he underwent the gruelling treatment.

Archant

FINAL results have shown that Freddie Rowe-Crowder still has a very small amount of cancer remaining following the last round of a pioneering antibody treatment.

And while the news came as a huge blow for the brave eight year old and his family, his dad Tep Crowder explained this week that the disease has been reduced so much that other treatment routes which were ruled out last year could now be suitable.

He also said that the ground-breaking antibody treatment in Germany had had a “remarkable” impact on Freddie who now had bundles of energy and was able to live life to the full having been extremely sick this time last year when he had been given just months to live.

After being diagnosed with neuroblastoma in February 2009 Freddie, from Bury Green, Wheathampstead, underwent chemotherapy, surgery, transplants and transfusions – all of which failed to provide a cure.

Doctors had said his condition was terminal by the September but against all the odds Freddie, a St Helen’s School pupil, fought back and earlier this year he was found to be an ideal candidate for the new treatment which was being piloted in Greifswald, Germany.

An uphill struggle to find the £60,000 to pay for the six rounds of treatment needed followed, but within weeks of the Herts Advertiser launching a campaign to support the efforts of his friends, family and his school, the full sum was raised.

And inspirational Freddie has blown his family and doctors away with his courage and fighting spirit throughout the gruelling and invasive treatment which left him feeling very sick and in extreme pain at times.

He completed the treatment in October and returned to Germany at the end of last month to undergo the final tests which included an ultrasound and a small operation to test his bone marrow, which all came back clear.

But the last and most detailed of the tests – two MIBG scans – were postponed until last week due to heavy snow in the Baltic region as the isotope couldn’t be delivered, and the results showed a very small area of the cancer was still there.

Tep said: “This is obviously very disappointing for us, given all the hard work everyone, especially Freddie, have put in. However, when we step back and put this result in context, we can really see how far we’ve come.

“This time last year, we didn’t know if Freddie would make Christmas. He did, through his own courage and we were then offered a lifeline in the form of the new German antibody treatment.

Herts Advertiser readers and local people made it possible for Freddie to try this new treatment and the results have, in fact, been remarkable.”

He continued: “At the start of 2010 we were losing Freddie rapidly. He had no energy, was tired from the least amount of exercise and weighed about 17 kilos. He looked pale and gaunt.

“Today, he’s a normal eight-year-old. On the go constantly. Running everywhere. Playing, playing, playing. Freddie has put weight on (he’s up to 23 kilos) and looks well.

“He’s improved so much and the cancer reduced to the extent that we may be able to look at other treatments which, a year ago, were unsuitable.

“So, though the antibody treatment has not cleared him, it has moved us forward immensely. Without the antibody treatment, Freddie would not be with us today. It’s that simple.”

Freddie has returned to Great Ormond Street Hospital with his parents to start discussions about what the next steps in his treatment will be and more news is expected in the New Year.

In the meantime, Freddie and his family – which also includes mum Tania Rowe and older sister Aggie – are looking forward to a fun-packed Christmas which, this time last year, they never thought they would get to see together.

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