Published: 00:01, 01 October 2017
The parents of desperately sick teenager Jake Rafferty have been told 16 times he was about to die.
On one occasion Emma and Adrian Rafferty were told Jake, the eldest of their five children, had hours to live – and they made the agonising decision to start organising his funeral.
With nothing to lose, the couple from Halling decided to look into alternative medicine in a last-ditch attempt to prolong their cancer-stricken son’s life.
And amazingly, in less than a year, they have seen encouraging signs of improvement in the courageous 14-year-old.
Mrs Rafferty, 37, who has given up her job in the Metropolitan Police to look after Jake, said: “We won’t give up as long as Jake will not give up. He keeps bouncing back. He is our miracle boy.”
Emma started to research into an American cure using a specialist diet aimed at advanced cancer patients.
They have been paying £600 a week on food supplements from the States and have liaised with experts in India and Spain.
Before embarking on the programme Jake, who has a number of tumours, was virtually bedridden at the family home in Britannia Close.
Mrs Rafferty said: “At the beginning of the year, he was unable to move his head or talk. He would go through 15 litres of oxygen and was taking 17 different tablets a day.
“But gradually he is getting more movement, hardly takes any pills and his breathing has improved so much he just needs a daily hourly top-up.
“He is the happiest he has been. He can’t stop smiling.”
Jake was recently well enough to accompany his family and friends for a meal at Bluewater and has been on two caravan holidays this year.
The sports-mad lad is looking forward to going back to The Malling School in East Malling and is soon to start home tuition. Jake will to undergo a scan next month which should identify any signs of recovery.
Jake faced death after an aggressive tumour covering eight vertebrae was discovered in his spine nearly five years ago. The only option was complex surgery which left him wheelchair-bound and paralysed.
At the beginning of last year, he was admitted to St George’s Hospital in London to fix a rod in his spine and a pre-operation scan revealed the spinal tumour had spread to several areas of his brain.
Earlier this year, Jake underwent surgery and his parents were warned he might not make it through the general anaesthetic.
Mrs Rafferty said: “He has defied doctors. I believe the dietary supplements we are giving him are working.”
She said medication, consultation and private scans had cost in excess of £25,000.
She said: “We have a huge amount of support, a GoFundMe page and I have sourced products from this country.”
Three years ago Jake achieved one of his goals and climbed one of Britain’s highest peaks in a specially-adapted trike.
Jake, his dad Adrian, 49, who works for The Met, and 20 police officers made it to the summit of Mount Snowdon in an amazing two hours and 50 minutes. The party raised about £2,500 for the charity Spinal Research UK.
Mrs Rafferty, who is also mum to Jessica, 12, Elizabeth, 11, Oliver eight and George, six, added: “He’s a real trouper.”
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