A heartbroken mum faces a race against time to raise £200,000 for urgent treatment to give her nine-year-old son a final chance to save his life.
Ewa Sitkowska, 43, needs to raise the money for treatment not funded by the NHS to save Cristiano, who has been battling a rare aggressive cancer called Embryonal Rhabdomysosarcoma since January 5, 2016.
He has had to undergo non-stop treatment for the tumour, including a nine-week course of Proton Beam therapy last March in Oklahoma, USA.
Sadly, his tumour doubled in size meaning he could not undergo the treatment.
His right eye is horribly distended from the pressure of the tumour and doctors may have to remove it to make him more comfortable. Understandably, Cristiano is terrified of this.
Now Ewa and his 42-year-old, Portuguese father, Orlando Sousa, who live in Marsh face an uphill battle to raise the huge sum so he can undergo a pioneering treatment called Antineoplaston therapy which has previously saved people’s lives at the Burzynski Clinic, Houston,
The scale of her plight was revealed recently when her son, who is named after the Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, told her the words no parent ever wants to hear: “I don’t want to live anymore, mummy.”
The family’s agony has touched people’s hearts all over the world with offers of financial help worth thousands of pounds flooding in. The family would have to pay the money in instalments with treatment over a year set to cost around £200,000.
Ewa, a mother-of-two, said: "Everything else has failed. This is the last chance to save his life.
“On May 23 Orlando, Cristiano and myself are going to America for an exploratory visit. We’ve been told he would be a very good candidate for treatment.
“The doctors here have said they can’t do anything more for him apart from palliative care and said he could die from this.
“The cancer is very rare. Only 60 children get this type of cancer every year in the UK.
“At the moment his quality of life is very poor. He can’t close his right eye and it gets infections,
“He is fed every day from a tube into his tummy and we need a constant supply of tissues as he has to get rid of phlegm all the time. He can’t watch TV as it is too bright so he plays with a computer-type game.”
She and her partner also face an agonising decision about whether to allow doctors to remove his eye to reduce the pressure from the tumour and make his life more bearable.
Although Ewa says they are resigned to him losing the vision in his eye they would rather postpone the decision until after they return from the States.
Ewa added:“I can’t believe how generous people have been, it is unbelievable how much money has been raised already, more than £6,000 in just one day. I am speechless.
“It’s very hard. Every day I wake up and to see your son doing nothing and waiting for the worst. Every day he looks at the mirror and sees his eye bulging out and he knows how he looks. It is very hard for him.
“I was 34 when he was born and all my life I wanted to have two boys. He and his younger brother Oscar mean everything to me.
“He has said a few times about not wanting to live anymore – the after effects of radiotherapy can be very painful. I said to him: ‘Later, it will be better, I try to cheer him.”
The first she had any inklings that Cristiano had any problems was on Christmas Eve, 2015.
Ewa said: “We were in Portugal and the kids were opening presents when Orlando noticed a slight swelling around his eye and asked him if he had banged himself. But the next day, Christmas Day, I saw his eye was different, it looked like something was pushing and that’s when it all started.
“The doctors did a scan there straightaway and said it’s some kind of tumour.”
Anyone who wants to help the family should go to: https:// www.gofundme.com/cristianosousa