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Daily Record
Daily Record
Ryan Thom

Parents devastated after son diagnosed with aggressive cancer after chickenpox fail to disappear

An Ayrshire mum has told how she “couldn’t cope” with the thought of losing her son after his chickenpox was diagnosed as an extremely aggressive cancer.

Victoria McDonald was left heartbroken after her four-year-old boy Calum Rae was told his ‘sore body’ was stage 4 neuroblastoma.

The 33-year-old said she cried all night with her partner Andrew Rae, 35, when their brave son was admitted to a specialist cancer ward in Glasgow.

The family from Troon spent all night in the same hospital bed after being told the horrible news just hours earlier, with Calum’s baby sister Emily by their side in her buggy.

Calum was first rushed into Crosshouse Hospital weeks after overcoming chickenpox in January.

But worrying symptoms then appeared, with Calum complaining of full body aches so bad he was left “screaming through the night”.

Calum is bravely tackling gruelling treatment (Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser)

A GP first thought Calum was suffering from shingles but when symptoms failed to clear she sent them straight to the Kilmarnock children’s ward.

But their whole world collapsed when a series of MRI scans revealed a tumour above Calum’s kidney with more signs of legions all throughout his bones.

Victoria told Ayrshire Live: “We knew it was pretty serious when they told us that he had a tumour, even at that point I didn’t want to think it was cancer.

Symptoms started after Calum recovered from chickenpox (Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser)

“When the consultant came into tell us, Calum was so unwell that he didn’t want us to leave to the next room, he just kept clinging on. We carried him through to the room.

“The walk down to that room, my heart was just sinking, she was going to say something horrible.

“We went in and she said it, she herself was struggling to tell us. When we started crying Calum just asked why we were crying and said ‘everything is okay, I love you mummy and daddy'.

Mum Victoria said her 'heart sank' as she prepared herself for the news Calum had cancer (Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser)

“After we were told we were sent straight to Glasgow

“We got up there about 8pm at night. That night was just horrible, the three of us slept in the hospital bed. Wee Emily was in her buggy.

“The hospital only usually let one family member stay but they were amazing they let us all stay together.

Calum has always kept smiling despite gruelling treatment (Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser)

“Me and Andrew just cried all night, we were trying to come to terms with it.”

Victoria who is a primary school teacher had never heard of neuroblastoma and was left “tortured” after googling the condition after first medics first feared her son had the extremely rare childhood cancer.

She added: “When we first went up to Glasgow we never had it confirmed it was neuorblastoma.

“The first thing you do is google it, you are reading all about this horrendous stuff.

“All I could think was ‘how is he going to beat it?’, how terrible the chances are, your mind couldn’t cope with the thought of losing him.

“It just tortured me with pain but I couldn’t stop myself I wanted to know everything.”

Calum's only hope is a vaccine trial in New York to prevent the aggressive cancer from ever returning (Ayrshire Live)

Since his diagnosis in March Calum is undergoing gruelling rounds of the strongest chemotherapy, this will be followed by possible surgery and a stem cell transplant which weakens the immune system and would leave him “extremely unwell.”

Calum could go through all the painstaking treatment but faces the high possibility of his cancer returning and becoming resistant to treatment, giving Calum a lower chance of surviving.

The family have sought out a trial drug in the US which could prevent the cancer from ever returning.

The miracle vaccine is being trialled at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York.

But it will cost £250,000 to fund trips to the Big Apple for the treatment including hospital stays.

The family have launched a fundraiser as they vowed to do everything in their power to give Calum the best chance.

Victoria added: “We have to put all our efforts we can to give Calum the best chance.

Calum with baby sister Emily (Ayrshire Live)

“When he realised there is something there that could, we couldn’t not do it.

“Having the fundraiser and having that goal is something to keep me busy. It is so comforting and overwhelming to see so many can come together in such sad circumstances.

“We’ve got a great support behind us. I still have times where all this comes to torment me.

“He’s still his usual happy self, he keeps smiling throughout it all.”

You can donate to Calum's fundraiser here.

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