Exmouth boy’s double cancer blow

An Exmouth Community College pupil has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time in his life

A STRONG-MINDED mother is putting on a brave face in an attempt to raise more than �15,000 to fund life-saving cancer treatment for her son.

Raymond O’Sullivan, 11, of Green Close, Exmouth, has been diagnosed with orbital rhabdomyosarcoma for the second time in his life despite medical chiefs claiming it was incredibly rare for the illness to return.

His mum, Vanessa Evens, has started a fundraising campaign, which the Journal is supporting, to raise money needed to fund his treatment – therapy that could result in his vision being lost completely.

Raymond requires a form of radiotherapy which is only available in America and Holland, at a cost between approximately �15,000 and �18,000.


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His family have been told there was a possibility the NHS may not pay and they would have to raise the funds themselves.

Mrs Evens was ‘mortified’ and could not stop crying when she awaited news from hospital staff that the cancer had come back.

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The 42-year-old said: “I was crying so much that somebody approached me and thought I had suffered a bereavement in the family.

“Within three days of going to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, we went to Great Ormond Street. They did some tests and results were sent back one week later confirming he had cancer again.”

It took two years for Raymond, who has just started Exmouth Community College, to win a previous battle against rhabdomyosarcoma after he was first diagnosed in 2001.

Mrs Evens added: “It’s rare that this type of cancer returns. An oncologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital could not give me a statistic to how uncommon it is.”

The two major areas in which Rhabdomyosarcoma is found are the genitourinary tract as well as the head and neck, particularly around the eyes.

“When you get to the five year mark you start breathing a sigh of relief, thinking it’s not returning,” Mrs Evens said.

“Up until now it looked as though it was under control. Unfortunately it has come back as a surprise eight years down the line.”

Raymond’s timetable of treatment entails five days of chemotherapy, two days off, another five days of chemotherapy and two weeks off.

The cycle is repeated and then he will require radiotherapy, either Protom beam or bracytherapy, in either America or Holland.

A consultant paediatrician has informed Raymond’s parents that more therapy could cause long-term damage to the youngster’s optic nerve.

One of the likelihoods is his vision could be lost completely.

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