Appeal after teen gets rare cancer

The family of a teenage boy with a rare form of cancer is appealing for help to take him to America to receive vital treatment.

Friday, 13th January 2017, 4:15 pm
Updated Friday, 13th January 2017, 4:17 pm
Joseph in hospital

Peterborough teenager Joseph Ward was diagnosed with the cancer late last year - and has been at Addenbrooke’s hospital for more than a month while receiving treatment. The 15-year-old has been unable to eat since being diagnosed as having the chordoma - a condition that has only been recorded about 300 times in children before. It is normally found in patients aged between 40 and 60.

The tumour was found at the back of Joseph’s neck, growing from his spinal root nerve.

Mum Caroline said: “It is very rare, and it is not curable at the moment. There is a treatment, proton beam therapy, which can help prolong his life, but this is not available in Britain at the moment.

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Joseph with his brothers. Photo: Paul England

“The NHS will fund the operation in Miami, but we need money to live out there while he is having the treatment.

“Doctors don’t know how long he will be in Miami, but it will be for around eight weeks.”

Since being diagnosed, Joseph has had two lengthy operations, one lasting more than 14 hours. His brothers, George 6, Harry 4, Charles 3, will also join him in America

Caroline (35) said: “We don’t even know when he will be able to go to Miami - it will be when he is well enough.

Joseph with his brothers. Photo: Paul England

“We have put a gofund me page online to help us go. Any extra money will be used to help us refit his bedroom when he is well enough to come home.

“He is a normal 15-year-old - he likes computers, is a member of the RAF cadets, enjoys badminton and basketball.”

To donate to help the family, visit www.gofundme.com/financial-aid-for-the-ward-family