‘The world was crashing down’ - Father describes heartbreak after eight-month-old son diagnosed with cancer
- Credit: Archant
The family of a nine-month-old boy is raising £50,000 for treatment abroad to save their son who has a rare form of cancer.
Oakley Cutajar, from Bradwell, has had one of the toughest possible starts to life.
He was born in August last year and diagnosed with a rare eye condition, PFV, which meant he would never have sight in one eye.
In January the eye began to swell and his parents took him to James Paget University Hospital.
The boy's father Louis, 26, said at first he thought it was an infection - and although antibiotics reduced the swelling, it returned after two weeks.
He said that Oakley was referred to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London, where doctors decided to remove the eye. Again, within a fortnight the swelling came back.
Mr Cutajar, a former Norwich City FC youth player who has also played for Lowestoft and Diss, said that he immediately took his son back to the hospital in London, where tests were carried out.
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The eight-month-old was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer, a rhabdoid tumour.
Further scans showed it was also in his kidney.
Mr Cutajar described the moment he heard the diagnosis.
He said: "You can imagine how heartbreaking that is, holding him - he was only eight months old at the time.
"The world was crashing down."
But he also spoke of his son's strength.
"My little boy sat in a general MRI scan, with his face still for 30 minutes," he said.
"He's just a different boy.
"We know the fight is in him."
Oakley started chemotherapy in February and has been at Great Ormond Street ever since.
His father said he is fighting hard, but that the treatment is tough on an infant's body.
There has been good news, with no sign of the tumour now on his kidney - but it is still on his eye.
The family have been told that specialist treatment to remove the tumour from his eye is not available on the NHS.
It will have to be self-funded and the cost is £50,000.
Doctors at Great Ormond Street have suggested an oncology hospital in the Netherlands, where pioneering radiotherapy treatment can remove the tumour.
To donate to the family's fundraising efforts visit their Justgiving page.