By Andrea McCallum
THE parents of a toddler suffering from a rare form of cancer have pledged to raise ?300,000 so he can have treatment only available in America.
After 22-month-old Ross Anderton was diagnosed with a tumour underneath his eye mum Lesley and dad Andy asked the NHS to fund life-saving therapy.
But with a ?120,500 ($200,000) price tag, Lesley and Andy are facing a race to get funding.
They are awaiting a final decision on whether or not the NHS will help but say they cannot just stand by and wait.
Doctors have advised Proton Beam Therapy is Ross’ best option but it’s only available in the USA.
The family will have to cover Ross’ treatment costs as well as travel and living expenses for two months if they head State Side from their Ormiston home.
Andy said: “When we were told Ross had cancer, it was like the world falling apart, but we’re grateful this is quite a curable cancer.
“We’re kind of in limbo at the moment because it’s a fairly new treatment.
“We’ve only heard of two other children having it. I think we’re going to have to remortgage the house to pay for it.”
Ross was diagnosed with orbital rhabdomyosarcoma – which affects muscle tissue – in August and has undergone chemotherapy at the Edinburgh Sick Kids.
The family thought Ross had a blocked tear duct but their GP diagnosed the cancerous tumour and further treatment is needed to rid the disease for good.
And although Ross has been offered radiotherapy, his mum and dad have refused as it will leave their son severely disfigured.
Andy added: “The problem with radiotherapy is it kills good cells as well as bad cells.
“We got a huge shock when we were told.
“The other choice was removing his eye – it’s not really a choice at all.
“People can be very cruel. They will stare at him in the street. We have to be careful about taking him out. It could be very hard for him when he goes to school.”
Family and friend have already rallied together to raise ?3,500 and a part night has been organised for December 11 to support a trust fund set up in Andrew’s honour.
Andy added: “We’ve been astounded by how much people are helping. It’s all been pretty short notice, but they have pulled out all the stops.”
For more information about Ross and the fundraising appeal visit www.giverossafuture.org.uk.