A 12-year-old boy having specialised cancer treatment in the USA hopes received a boost from a message of support from his hero Bear Grylls.
Kaiden Pritchard was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma – a rare form of childhood cancer – after finding a lump the size of a two-penny piece on his palate back in March.
The tumour was removed and his family was told the rare form of cancer was treatable.
After treatment at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, Kaiden and his parents Arwel and Hayley, both 32, from Caernarfon travelled 4,000 miles to Jacksonville, Florida in June so he could begin proton specialised radiotherapy.
The treatment means Kaiden has had to wear a special fitted mask over his face and head to keep him from moving and stay totally still. The radiation has been pin-pointed from three different directions at his mouth to kill all the cells that need to be treated rather than also killing ones that don’t. It lasts 45 minutes while his parents stay in a waiting room.
Kaiden has been having treatment five days a week and was expecting to be there until the beginning of September.
And he has recently been buoyed by a message of support from his hero, adventurer Bear Grylls.
Speaking from the United States, Arwel said: “We’re hoping we can return home earlier in a couple of weeks’ time.
“There are always delays with treatments here because they have tremendous storms which affect the electricity supply and they have to cancel treatments. But Kaiden has been really lucky with his treatment; he has been really good. The doctors are really pleased with his progress and so are we. So far, so good.”
Mr Pritchard said: “A fortnight ago he had a bad week and had sores in his mouth. He didn’t eat much at all but he has had a special mouthwash and antibiotics which did the trick.”
Kaiden and his parents will have another meeting next week with the consultant to discuss his progress.
Mr Pritchard praised his son for his positive attitude saying: “He has not been at all fazed. He is still the same, laughing with his mates from home while playing PlayStation. Keeping in contact with his friends has lifted his heart.”
Kaiden has lost a stone and 3/4 since starting the treatment and now looks “slim”, said Mr Pritchard.
Friends have been holding various fundraising events to help pay for his parents to accompany Kaiden to the US and for days outs for his brothers Kian, 10, Konner, nine, and Kelt, seven at home over the summer months and the family said they wanted to thank everybody for their fantastic support.
Volunteers had their heads shaved in a recent fundraiser at Caernarfon Football Club and there was another event at Penbont, Llanrug. Boxer Marvin Pritchard managed to spar for 12 hours on July 29 to raise money and today, Saturday, August 12, Paul Mark Williams and Dylan Rowlands are cycling 160 miles in one day from Tyddewi (St David’s) to Caernarfon, when the money raised will be shared between Kaiden and the Hospice at Home Gwynedd and Anglesey.