The parents of a “brave” five-year-old boy have launched an emotional appeal to raise £202,000 before Christmas to help their son beat an aggressive childhood cancer.
Henry Bard, from Nottingham, was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma just before his fourth birthday in 2019.
The youngster was forced to undergo a seven-hour operation, stem cell harvest and high dose chemotherapy – as well as spending his fourth and fifth birthday, and a Christmas Day, in hospital.
Henry’s parents, Graham and Rachel Bard, have set up a fundraiser to attempt to raise £202,000 to access the Bivalent Vaccine clinical trial at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York as soon as he finishes frontline NHS treatment.
Charity Solving Kids’ Cancer said neuroblastoma returns in almost 50% of children and if this happens, less than one in 10 will survive.
Speaking of what his son means to him, Mr Bard, 37, told the PA news agency: “Henry is such a character.
“He has such a strong stoic attitude, he’s had so much thrown at him and yet he just gets on with it.
“Even in the darkest of times you can still get a thumbs up or will be lasered by his Buzz Lightyear blaster.”
Mr Bard continued: “Henry has been through so much in the last 16 months, more than most of us will experience in our lifetime, let alone by the age of five.
“As parents you feel completely helpless watching them go through aggressive and intense treatment.
“We just want to do whatever we can to give Henry the best possible chance to beat the cancer and stop it coming back.”
Henry’s parents said the Covid-19 pandemic had made their fundraising efforts much harder.
Mrs Bard, also 37, told PA: “It’s been really difficult.
“We have been very limited and restricted as to what events and activities we can do.
“Our team of supporters have done an absolutely amazing job to raise £70k over this period.
“Sadly though we still have a very long way to go, in a very short amount of time.”
Asked what life had been like self-isolating throughout the pandemic, Mrs Bard said: “Any oncology family will tell you that shielding and isolating is nothing new to them, throughout treatment Henry had periods where his immune system was compromised.
“For us as a family, lockdown has been amazing. We have been able to watch our little boy rediscover life outside of the hospital and playing with his little brother.”
The Bard family have so far raised just over £70,000 and are desperate to reach their £202,000 goal.
Mr Bard said: “We are really hoping that we hit our target by Christmas.
“We want to do whatever we can to help stop this cancer from coming back.”
The Bard family have asked people to donate through their fundraising page: https://www.solvingkidscancer.org.uk/Appeal/henry
Donations can also be made by texting HENRYB to 70085 followed by any whole amount up to £20.