December 12 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 16, 2013
Smiles and celebrations are being shared on both sides of the globe after a “miracle” recovery by little Charlie Ryan, whose parents have been told his cancer is in remission.
Sam Stroud and Tony Ryan, who both used to work for Norfolk Constabulary, broke down in tears of joy when doctors gave them the news they had dreamed of; there were no signs of cancer in Charlie’s body.
The fantastic news soon made its way around the globe from Australia, where the family now live, to their family and friends here in Norwich, including the battling five-year-old’s grandmother, Marion Stroud, in Costessey. Earlier this year the readers of the Norwich Evening News played a huge part in helping to raise £20,000 for the young Norwich City supporter, through the Charlie’s Angels campaign.
A huge response saw fund-raising events and donations pour in, while Charlie was treated to rides in luxury sports cars, a helicopter flight and was even able to be a Norwich City mascot for a Premier League match at Carrow Road.
With that kindness and generosity still fresh in mind, Charlie’s father Tony quickly got in touch with the Evening News to share the brilliant news.
“It shows that miracles do happen and that you should never give up hope,” said an elated Mr Ryan.
“It’s fantastic news, amazing. We came back to Australia because we were told we wouldn’t have much time left.
“So we came back and the treatment Charlie was having wasn’t working, so the doctors said they would try MIBG therapy, which is a kind of radioactive isotope which Charlie’s cancer is, what the doctors call, hungry for.”
That therapy saw a slightly radioactive form of MIBG injected into Charlie’s bloodstream as part of image testing to look for neuroblastoma cells in his body, showing evidence in his arms, hips and lungs.
A more highly radioactive form of MIBG is used to treat some children with advanced neuroblastoma, often along with other treatments, and it was decided to give this to Charlie at Fremantle Hospital, near Perth in Western Australia,
Once Charlie had this injected into his bloodstream, the MIBG went to the sites of tumours in his body, to deliver radiation. He then had to stay in a special room for a week after the injection, until most of the radiation had left his body.
Mr Ryan explained: “They haven’t used the treatment in Western Australia for 15 years because of limited success, but it is used regularly on the east coast, so they consulted with Sydney Hospital and decided to try with Charlie.
“Imagine what it was like for a five-year-old, he couldn’t see his sister for a whole week, he could only see her through a window.
“He had this eight weeks ago and we had actually noticed that he was looking better.”
The family’s hopes began to rise as Charlie continued to improve and last week doctors confirmed there were no traces of the disease in Charlie’s body.
“Eight weeks ago we had been told we had two or three months left and that Charlie wouldn’t see his birthday in October,” said Mr Ryan.
“The doctor called it a miracle, he said ‘we see a miracle every 10 years in this job and I think we’ve seen one today’, they didn’t know what to make of it.
“I can’t explain how happy we are. When he first got it he was three -years-old and he didn’t really understand what was going on, but he’s five-years-old now and he was asking, so we told him he had bugs in his tummy and we were trying to make him better.
“So when they told us, we broke down, and Charlie wanted to know why. We told him that what he had was called cancer and that he was better now.
“He’s been bouncing around, he doesn’t quite understand the enormity of it yet. He has asked if this means he can go to see my cousins in England, because he couldn’t fly before. Now we are hoping to come back at Christmas.”
Mr Ryan said the £20,000 raised by the Charlie’s Angels campaign has allowed his family to support two charitable causes.
Some has been used for the Emily and Charlie Fund, which is attempting to raise $135,000 for research into neuroblastoma at Children’s Cancer Institute Australia, inspired by Charlie and another young cancer battler in Australia, Emily Turner.
They have also contributed to Bright Blue, a charity which supports sick children and their families in Western Australia.
However, Mr Ryan said some of the Charlie’s Angels money is still being kept safe, as it is very difficult to predict what the future will hold for Charlie.
“We’ll always be cautious because we’ve been at this stage before and it came back,” Mr Ryan added. “Because of all the radiation and the chemo, there’s always going to be that small risk that another disease can come back, but we are going to live every day to its fullest.
“It’s fantastic what everybody did for us when we were over there. I again want to thank everyone for their support. We are still getting messages of support from people and I just want to thank everyone for their support and prayers.”
• Keep up with the latest news about Charlie’s progress and the latest fund-raising events and details of charities his family is working with by joining the group, Charlie our Superhero, on Facebook.