Three-year-old with cancer needs £100k for new therapy

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A FUNDRAISING ball is to take place to help try and save the life of an Edinburgh toddler “riddled” with cancer.

The parents of three-year-old Alex Noble have organised the high-profile event in a desperate attempt to reach the £100,000 total needed to give him a chance of survival.

They have already hit the £30,000 mark through a series of smaller events, but now the family from Blackford wants to ramp up the appeal to pay for the treatment, which is only available in Germany, by holding the Sparkle for Alex spectacle at the Corn Exchange next month.

The youngster suffers from the aggressive neuroblastoma, which only affects one in 100 children in the UK every year.

The Evening News reported in September how Alex had relapsed in June, with his father Chris and mother Sarah admitting they didn’t know if they had “weeks, months or years” left with him.

However, further treatment showed unexpected encouragement, and he can now undergo a new therapy – but not on the NHS, meaning the huge sum needs to be raised privately.

Mr Noble, 35, a solicitor, said: “He is still battling, and having responded unusually well to the chemotherapy he had after his relapse, the consultants have decided to re-do some of the initial protocol in the hope that it has the desired effect this time around.”

The treatment needed involves a high dosage of chemotherapy followed by a five-month course of immunotherapy.

Alex received this as part of a clinical trial last year, but given the “randomised” nature of the programme, it turned out he was not one of the patients to actually receive the drugs, meaning he missed out on the extra 20 per cent chance of surviving the illness.

“As it is such a new development in this country, and only available under the clinical trial Alex was on last year, he is not entitled – and we are not able – to access the alternative course in the UK,” Mr Noble added.

“As such, we are now looking at going to Germany, where the treatment is available, at a cost in the region of £80-100,000.”

It is hoped by securing a number of guests to the ball on March 23, which was organised by friends of the family, real progress can be made towards the sum. They also know that time is precious given the treatment he currently receives only “beats down” the cancer, rather than offering a cure.

At the event, drinks and a three-course meal will be followed by an auction featuring tempting prizes.

These include overnight stays in some of Scotland’s best hotels, a tennis racket signed by multi-grand slam winning Rafa Nadal, and a Fender guitar signed by world-famous band The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

For more information on the event visit www.sparkleforalex.co.uk