Jack's brave battle reaches next step

A BRAVE Ipswich youngster undergoing treatment for a rare form of cancer faced the next step in his fight against the disease today when he started his course of radiotherapy.

A BRAVE Ipswich youngster undergoing treatment for a rare form of cancer faced the next step in his fight against the disease today when he started his course of radiotherapy.

Jack Gooding Harding was due to travel to Cambridge's Addenbrooke's Hospital for the first session in his six-week course of radiotherapy.

The five-year-old was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma - an aggressive form of the disease which develops from cells in the body's tissues - in November.

Chemotherapy at Ipswich Hospital and Addenbrooke's began in December and treatment is now being stepped up on two lumps on his neck.

Jack's mother, Beckie Harding, said: “From today his treatment is every day, Monday to Friday, for the next six weeks.

“He carries on having chemotherapy alongside it and hopefully, with the radiotherapy, we will see the size of the lump reduced.

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“We aren't looking forward to it because of the side effects. Because he's having treatment on both sides of his neck the two back salivary glands will stop working and he won't be able to eat properly.

“Long term, it could affect his growth. He's likely to have a thinner neck and his jaw might not develop properly so he might need surgery in the future.

“The treatment seems to come round so quickly. Just when he's rebuilding his strength he has to go back to hospital. Jack just gets on with it though.”

Miss Harding and Jack's father Gary Gooding, of Pinecroft Road, are travelling to and from Cambridge with Jack every day, but are hoping the hospital will soon be able to provide them with a room to stay in.

Jack is expected to be undergoing his chemotherapy for another six months but did receive good news at a recent MRI scan.

Doctors said the lump on his neck where the cancer was first diagnosed has shrunk by more than 75per cent - much further than predicted at this stage.

When the radiotherapy course is complete Jack will have further tests on a lump attached to his lung. It was first thought to be cancerous but because it has not responded to chemotherapy, it is hoped it may be a cyst.

A casino night fundraising for Jack is being held at Pals Nightclub on Wednesday, March 8 at 7pm.

Entry is £5, payable on the door, and will include $100 of pretend cash to place bets with. The night will also feature a silent auction.

Do you have a message of support for Jack and his family? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.>

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