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Online fundraiser to help Sonny, six, go on dream holiday after rare brain tumour diagnosis

PUBLISHED: 22:47 23 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:13 24 February 2020

Sonny Pope-Saunders, six, who has been diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma - an aggressive and cancerous brain tumour. Picure: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders family

Sonny Pope-Saunders, six, who has been diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma - an aggressive and cancerous brain tumour. Picure: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders family

Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders family

A family is fundraising so a six-year-old boy can go on a dream Disneyland Paris holiday after being diagnosed with a rare and terminal brain tumour.

Sonny Pope-Saunders, six, (right) with his brother Hudson Pope-Saunders, seven, and sister Star Pope-Saunders, seven. Picture: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders familySonny Pope-Saunders, six, (right) with his brother Hudson Pope-Saunders, seven, and sister Star Pope-Saunders, seven. Picture: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders family

Sonny Pope-Saunders, from Jex Road in Norwich, was diagnosed with diffuse midline glioma one day after his parents took him to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on February 19 because of concerns over his balance and slurred speech.

Sonny Pope-Saunders, six, (right), with his sister Star Pope-Saunders, 10, brother Hudson Pope-Saunders, seven, and father Jordan Pope, 29. Picture: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders familySonny Pope-Saunders, six, (right), with his sister Star Pope-Saunders, 10, brother Hudson Pope-Saunders, seven, and father Jordan Pope, 29. Picture: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders family

The disease forms in the brain stem, affects between 20 to 30 children in the UK every year, and there is no effective treatment.

Sonny Pope-Saunders, six, (centre), with his sister Star Pope-Saunders, 10, brother Hudson Pope-Saunders, seven, and father Jordan Pope, 29. Picture: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders familySonny Pope-Saunders, six, (centre), with his sister Star Pope-Saunders, 10, brother Hudson Pope-Saunders, seven, and father Jordan Pope, 29. Picture: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders family

The youngster was rushed to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge where a scan revealed a large aggressive cancerous tumour.

Sonny Pope-Saunders, six, (left) with his sister Star Pope-Saunders, 10, and Hudson Pope-Saunders, seven. Picture: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders familySonny Pope-Saunders, six, (left) with his sister Star Pope-Saunders, 10, and Hudson Pope-Saunders, seven. Picture: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders family

His parents were told he would have a possible six months to live without radiotherapy or 10 months with the treatment, according to his auntie Charlotte Sim.

Sonny Pope-Saunders, six, (right) with his sister Star Pope-Saunders, 10, and Hudson Pope-Saunders, seven. Picture: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders familySonny Pope-Saunders, six, (right) with his sister Star Pope-Saunders, 10, and Hudson Pope-Saunders, seven. Picture: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders family

Mrs Sim, 29, from Dixon Road in Sprowston, a product consultant for Aviva, said: "Everybody is devastated. Sonny's parents cannot get their heads around it."

Sonny Pope-Saunders, six, (right) with his brother Hudson Pope-Saunders, seven, and father Jordan Pope, 29. Picture: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders familySonny Pope-Saunders, six, (right) with his brother Hudson Pope-Saunders, seven, and father Jordan Pope, 29. Picture: Courtesy of the Pope-Saunders family

She set up an online fundraiser through gofundme on February 21 to so Sonny could enjoy a four-day trip to Disneyland Paris in April.

Mrs Sim added the family wanted to go to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando in 2022 but said: "We are not going to be able to get Sonny there."

The family initially set about raising £3,000 but that was reached within 24 hours so they are hoping to raise around £6,000 to pay for Sonny as well as his parents, Kelly Saunders, 31, and Jordan Pope, 29, and 10-year-old sister Star and seven-year-old brother Hudson.

So far nearly £3,700 has been raised and Mrs Sim said: "The response to the fundraiser has been unbelievable. It has gone everywhere. People are putting things on YouTube about it and saying they will do fundraisers for Sonny. Going to Disneland will be magical for Sonny and his siblings. They are heavily into Disney."

She described her nephew as chirpy and a lovely boy who loves drawing, Harry Potter, the Disney Pixar Cars film and boxer Anthony Joshua.

He is also a big fan of music by Liam Gallagher and Elton John, the latter of which he has requested to be played when he starts radiotherapy at Addenbrooke's on Wednesday.

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