A young boy who was taken to the doctor when his tummy was swollen was given a shock diagnosis in “every parent’s worst nightmare”.
Ralph Tatham was two when he complained of a tummy ache and his parents thought he was suffering from a minor virus. As a precaution an ultrasound was taken of their son which showed the youngster had liver cancer. To make matters worse the disease has spread and Ralph’s only chance of a cure is for a multi-organ transplant. His mum, Katie, says they've been on the waiting list in England for six months now, and haven't had a single match.
She told MyLondon : “It's been incredibly hard. I think it's a person's worst nightmare. Every parent would wish they could swap places with their child. It's just horrible. He must have had the cancer for a while, but there wasn't really any symptoms until his belly got very swollen. His cancer could spread at any time, and he's starting to become resistant to some of his current chemos. Time really is running out for him. We don't have long left."
The treatment Ralph desperately needs is made more challenging as the donation needs to come from a size match, which is rare in the UK. As a result the family is looking to the US, where there is a larger pool of potential donations, but it comes at a serious financial cost. They have started a fundraiser which has already earned more than £50,000.
Katie, whose family has been isolating with her partner and son in case a match is found, added: “We have an amazing team of doctors who have supported us here in the UK, it would be our last choice to do this. It means uprooting our whole family, it's a complete unknown, we wouldn't have any family support to have this major operation. But we feel like it really is his only good chance, unless a miracle comes up while we wait.
"It's really sad to see him, these really toxic drugs being pumped through him but that's the only way he's going to survive. It's horrible to watch but you have no choice. If you look at him, you'd struggle to know there was anything wrong. He's been so brave, just kind of accepted everything.
"It's been really, really hard, really stressful. We can't accept the help that we need because we're limiting people in our home. There are lots of people who would love to come and help us but we haven't been able to accept that help because we don't want to expose Ralph to any illness."