Three-year old Frankie Cheek from Crowborough was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer in July. He has a tumor in his nasal cavity and behind his right eye which has caused partial blindness.
His parents, Andrew and Catherine, were advised that the cancer was inoperable and he would need nine cycles of chemo and radiation-therapy and the cure rate for Frankie’s Rhabdomyosarcoma could be as low as 70%.
His family have uprooted to the USA for 2-months in order that Frankie can get a type of radiotherapy not currently available in the UK. His parents, Andrew and Catherine, have left their jobs and Frankie’s big sister Layla has gone too, so the family can stay united. Andrew is a local painter and decorator and Catherine works for Charleswater in Jarvis Brook.
Unlike conventional radiotherapy, which uses X-rays to destroy cancer cells, the Proton Beam Therapy Frankie is receiving, uses accelerated protons targeted at the cancerous cells, killing them. The protons stops once they “hit” the cancer cells, meaning much less damage to surrounding tissue.
The medical costs at the ProCure Proton Therapy Center and travel expenses to get to Oklahoma City are being paid for by the NHS, but after the family return home, Frankie needs to continue to have injections of a drug called “Neulasta” which stimulate the growth of white blood cells in the bone marrow to fight infection.
In order to raise enough money to fund the remaining doses of Neulasta, a fundraising website was set-up earlier this week. And over the past 3-days nearly £30,000 has been raised, from mostly small donations of £10 and £20.
Any left over funds once Frankie’s treatment has been completed will be donated to the hospital that treated him in London and to childhood cancer research.
From the States, Catherine told CrowboroughLife:
Frankie has had six rounds of chemo so far with another schedule next week.We are half-way through Proton Therapy. He is having 28 doses of protons and because he has to have a General Anaesthetic each day, it is “Nil by Mouth” from Monday to Friday in the mornings – which is tough for a little 3-year-old.He’s getting side effects now – but he’s a trooper.It is harrowing to watch your child go through all this extreme treatment and how the chemo drugs and radiotherapy take a massive toll on his body, but it has to be done to kick the cancer.
We’re here with our 6-year-old daughter Layla who attends Ashdown Primary School. She’s in Year 2 so we’re home schooling while we are out here.
Thank you so so much to everyone who has donated we are totally overwhelmed by the generosity of family, friends, friends of friends , work colleagues and people we have never even met. You are all truly amazing and we are eternally grateful.
Going back to the UK now in the safe knowledge Frank can get the Neulasta drug for the rest of his treatment. You amazing people have smashed our target and any left over funds we will donate to the hospital that has treated Frank in London and to childhood cancer research to find a cure for this deadly disease.
So so thankful lots of Love The Cheeks and especially Frankie xxx ❤️
Emily Barton donated via the “Thumps up for Franke” fundraising page:
I do not know you, but Facebook has posted this link, and I understand your a local family and I feel so compelled to donate. I wish you all the love and luck in the world that you achieve your target, no child or family should ever face the torment you are enduring. Stay strong and stay positive xx
Natalie Purves said:
No one should have to go through this, I hope this small donation will go towards making things slightly easier, god bless x
And Lisa Hayes who donated £1,063 said:
Some of the golfers of crowborough donated to my daughters cancer fund, she was wrongly diagnosed as having secondary liver cancer at their request I have donated their funds to you all the best Lisa Hayes xx