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Boy with cancer to undergo pioneering proton therapy

PUBLISHED: 16:13 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:13 22 November 2019

Melanie and Harry Addy when he was first poorly. Picture: UK Proton Therapy

Melanie and Harry Addy when he was first poorly. Picture: UK Proton Therapy

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A brave nine-year-old boy is set to undergo pioneering proton therapy after he was approved for treatment on the NHS.

Harry Addy at the EACH Quidenham hospice Christmas party two years ago. Picture: KAREN SELFHarry Addy at the EACH Quidenham hospice Christmas party two years ago. Picture: KAREN SELF

Harry Addy, from Rivermead, Stalham, has a cancerous 'pilocytic astrocytoma' spinal cord tumour, which he's been battling since December 2015.

He also has leptomeningeal disease in his brain - a rare complication of his cancer in which the disease spreads to the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

The schoolboy has already undergone two major operations to remove the growth, procedures that meant he had to re-learn how to walk.

He's also just finished an 18 month-long stint of weekly chemotherapy.

Harry Addy when he was younger. Pictures: Supplied by Melanie AddyHarry Addy when he was younger. Pictures: Supplied by Melanie Addy

But at the end of October, Harry and his mum Melanie Addy, 35, had the heartbreaking news that his tumour had grown.

Harry will now spend six weeks in Manchester undergoing treatment after getting the green light from the Christie hospital's landmark proton therapy unit.

Mrs Addy said: "The funding has been approved for Harry to have protons at the Christie Hospital.

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"And now we need to concentrate on the next step of Harry's journey.

"Two major surgeries and two and a half years of chemotherapy failed to stop the tumour and leptomeningeal disease in his brain growing.

"This is our only option left. We are hoping that protons will be successful - although it may fail in the same way past treatments have. But we have to try."

Proton therapy is a type of radiotherapy said to pinpoint tumours with better accuracy while reducing collateral damage to other organs.

The facility at the Christie is the first and only NHS unit of its type.

Harry - brother to Daisy, 11, Matilda, six, and Hattie, three - had previously been denied treatment by the NHS' proton therapy commissioning panel.

Before the Christie's proton facility opened, NHS patients who needed treatment were sent abroad.

A JustGiving page raised about £35,000 for Harry to go to Germany for treatment and Mrs Addy said that money would now pay for their travel costs, and Harry's future needs. Any money left over will go to charities that helped Harry.

For more information, visit https://ukprotontherapy.co.uk/

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