Nottingham

Dollar for Dawson appeal launched for boy with liver cancer

Dawson at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham
Image caption Dawson was diagnosed with the rare cancer in January but so far none of the chemotherapy treatments have been successful

The family of a toddler who has a rare form of cancer are hoping to raise £500,000 to take him to the US for treatment.

Dawson Willcock, who is 20 months old, was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a form of liver cancer, in January but chemotherapy has failed to help him.

His parents want to take him to Cincinnati and have started the "Dollar for Dawson" campaign.

They were told the chances of getting the rare cancer are 0.9 in one million.

"You never think your child is going to get cancer. It always happens to other people - not to you," Dawson's mother Wendy Willcock said.

"Then on January 24 we got the official diagnosis - on my birthday - that it was cancerous hepatoblastoma. The hardest thing is hearing that your child is chemo-resistant and nothing is going to work."

Canadian singer Michael Buble's son Noah was diagnosed with the same cancer in 2016, but has reportedly responded to treatment.

Dawson, who is from Sutton-in-Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, is currently receiving treatment at Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham.

Liver cancer in children

Image copyright Wendy Willcock
Image caption The family have set up a crowd-funding page to raise money for Dawson's treatment in the US
  • Hepatoblastoma is a very rare cancerous tumour that starts in the liver
  • The disease primarily affects children from infancy to about three years old
  • Hepatoblastoma cancer cells can spread to other areas of the body, but this is rare
  • The liver's complex network of blood vessels and bile ducts makes surgery difficult

Source: Children's Cancer Research Fund

The family was told the cancer had spread to his lungs and the tumours were getting bigger.

"If there is someone who can save our son, then obviously we are going to go and fight to get there," his mother added.

Mrs Willcock said Dawson's consultant in Nottingham had contacted Dr James Geller, a paediatric haematologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, about possible treatments.

She added the exact costs of the treatment had not been confirmed: "Time is not on our side, we need to have this money in a very short time.

"Should we get the news he can't be saved, any money raised will go to good causes such as families like ourselves needing funding."

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