Northamptonshire businesses can you help Magnus?
The village of Brixworth has rallied in support of a brave six-year-old fighting a rare childhood cancer.
The story of Magnus,diagnosed last Christmas with stage 4 Neuroblastoma - a highly aggressive cancer affecting children under 5, has inspired friends, neighbours and the wider community in the Northamptonshire village to help fund life-saving treatment not available in the UK.
A host of fund raising events have been held and are planned for the year, including at Brixworth Primary School where six-year-old Magnus is a pupil. The Rotary e-club of district 1070 has also taken the charity under their wing and recently organised a Race Night which raised over £2000.
Meanwhile local tradespeople are generously donating a percentage of their income. So far, the Mighty Magnus Medicine Fund has raised over £30,000 – and Magnus’s parents Kate and Sandy are overwhelmed by the support and generosity.
Kate says: “This has been such a tough eight months for us since Magnus’s diagnosis because his treatment has been so intensive, but we could not have got through it all without the amazing kindness and support from so many people, including complete strangers who have been so generous and taken Magnus to their hearts.”
In January Magnus was admitted to the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham where scans showed he had a large abdominal tumour and like many other children with Neuroblastoma the disease had already spread to his bones and bone marrow. He started chemotherapy the following day.
Approximately one hundred children in the UK will be diagnosed every year with Neuroblastoma, and of those around half will be in the high-risk category. The treatment is punishing - a prolonged course of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, stem cell replacement and immunotherapy over one year, and major surgery to remove the tumour. It is a challenging illness to treat and Magnus will require constant monitoring in the years following.
Amazingly Magnus has responded as well as can be hoped to the treatment so far; an embodiment of the spirit and strength of the Viking warriors that he so loves. For his Viking-themed sixth birthday party in April Magnus was so determined not to disappoint his guests that he received a blood transfusion in the morning to give him the energy to conquer the day.
The Mighty Magnus Medicine Fund was created in May to raise funds for essential treatment not offered by the NHS. At the time a vital drug required for treatment - Dinutuximab Beta – was not available and the family faced the prospect of having to fund this themselves.
Thankfully the NHS has now since advised that it will fund this drug following a public campaign. This has come as a massive relief for Magnus’ family and the other families who were facing months of uncertainty.
But, in order to give Magnus the best chance of survival and avoid the high risk of relapse, he will need access to the latest and most innovative treatments currently only available in the US and elsewhere.