Brave Ray reaches birthday milestone

An Exmouth youngster who has been battling cancer for more than a year has celebrated his 13th birthday - a milestone his mother didn’t think he’d reach.

Raymond O’Sullivan, of Green Close, was diagnosed with orbital rhabdomyosarcoma last September for the second time in his life, having previously beaten the disease as a toddler.

After a community fundraising campaign, backed by the Journal, Raymond went to Amsterdam in January to receive potentially life-saving treatment, when surgeons removed a cancerous eye and surrounding muscles.

Nine months on, Raymond is continuing to receive chemotherapy, and it is still unclear how long his treatment will last.

His mother Vanessa Evens said: “It’s going to take as long as it takes, there’s nothing we can do. When they say it’s enough treatment, it’s enough treatment.

“He has chemotherapy every day, with one day off a week. The rest of the time he’s being tutored, and he might fit in a few hours a week at school as well.

“If his counts are good, I can take him out. If they’re down, I can’t because he’s more prone to infection.”

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Although Raymond is still receiving treatment, Vanessa is still aware of how much progress has been made.

“I can safely say that a bit earlier than this time last year, I didn’t think he’d be here, but he is.

“He’s coped really well on the chemotherapy. I know it’s not an ideal lifestyle, but it’s what Ray has and you make the most of it.”

Despite his continuing illness, Vanessa says Raymond remains in good spirits.

“I think he copes immensely well with everything. He doesn’t let things get him down, and if other people feel down or sorry he never does.”