Published: 12:00, 26 January 2016
The NHS will pay up to £150,000 so a young boy with a brain tumour can have life-saving treatment in America.
Seven-year-old Jamie-Lee Dearing and his family received the news last week after being told the proton therapy, a type of radiation treatment, was his only chance of living a normal life.
Speaking to Kentonline minutes after receiving the phone call she had been waiting for, mum Jodie Dearing, 31, said: “When I got the call I was so nervous, I didn’t know what to think. I’m just so relieved. When I told Jamie-Lee he just said: ‘Yes!’
“It’s now all systems go. The Royal Marsden Hospital will sort out our flights; my husband’s work, Hollywood Bowl Maidstone, has said they’ll keep his job open as long as he needs them to, and we’ve just got to go with the flow and be ready to go when it’s time.”
Jamie-Lee, who has been off sick from Ditton Junior School since October, will have a final brain scan at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, before jetting off to the States, which could be as soon as early February.
The tumour is in the part of the brain that controls vomiting and Jamie-Lee currently takes steroids, without which he would be sick up to 15 times a day.
But the steroids are having serious effects on his skin and bones, and he needs to stop taking them.
Shrinking the tumour through proton therapy is his only chance of a normal life.
The NHS money will cover Jamie-Lee’s treatment plus flights and accommodation in Jacksonville, Florida, for him, his mum and dad Lee, 30.
Mr and Mrs Dearing’s eldest children Holly, 15, who has autism, and Cameron, 11, who has ADHD, will stay with family in the UK while their five-year-old sister, Lara, will fly to the States, possibly with funding from charity Kids ‘n’ Cancer.
Generous family, friends and even strangers have already donated more than £1,800 via a JustGiving page.
Mrs Dearing said: “The community has really pulled together to try to help Jamie-Lee, which is lovely. It’s been really emotional.”
Separate from the tumour, Jamie-Lee, of New Road, Ditton, also has a debilitating skin and bone condition, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
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