A desperately sick little boy is set to fly to America to see whether controversial medical treatment can save his life.
Cristiano Sousa, nine, who has been battling a rare aggressive cancer since January 5, 2016, will board a plane later this month with his dad Orlando and mum Ewa Sitkowska.
They are pinning their hopes that he can undergo a treatment called Antineoplaston therapy which is said to have previously saved people’s lives at the Burzynski Clinic, Houston.
The treatment which would take place over a year costs £200,000 but critics say the clinic may be offering patients false hope and it was the subject of a BBC Panorama investigation which cast doubt on the clinic’s claims.
But Ewa and Orlando, of Marsh, say although they are aware of the doubts this clinic offers their son his best chance of treatment.
NHS doctors in the UK say all they can offer him now is palliative care.
More than £32,000 has been raised towards it and Mr Sousa said: “Cristiano is looking a little bit happier because he is going to the States. He is excited because he thinks he might be cured.”
And he is hoping that they will have better luck than their last visit in March 2016 when a planned nine-week course of proton beam therapy in Oklahoma had to be cancelled because his tumour suddenly began to double in size.
Mr Sousa said: “Last time it was very disappointing. We had gone over there with such high hopes. When the swelling started it was a very depressing time for all of us.”
And Paula Cowgill is set to run the Liverpool Half Marathon at the end of May to raise money for Cristiano using the JustGiving website.
She said: “Not only will this be a massive personal achievement but I am also trying to raise money for a very special cause.
“Cristiano Sousa, my son Matthew’s classmate was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive tumour. Despite chemotherapy and radiotherapy the NHS can now only offer Cristiano palliative care.
“His family and friends are now desperately trying to raise enough money to send Cristiano for further treatment in America. This treatment is Cristiano’s only hope for survival.
“Please, please, please, as a parent, grandparent or friend, donate to this worthy cause. No family should have to experience what they are going through right now.
“Let’s try and give Cristiano the chance he deserves, to live life and be healthy.
“Wouldn’t you want the same opportunity if it was a member of your own family? I know I would.”