PEOPLE raising money for seriously ill schoolboy Oscar Saxelby-Lee could be helping save other children hit by cancer too, says the founder of the charity backing the appeal.

Jen Kelly, who set up the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust after daughter Grace died, aged four, offered to help Oscar’s family after being struck by the parallels between him and Grace.

The trust is now backing the fundraising appeal for £500,000 to pay for specialist cancer treatment for Oscar, five, not currently available on the NHS. The charity is collecting the money on his behalf.

But Dr Kelly says, in the long run, the appeal - which raised £400,000 in just over a fortnight - could go way beyond just helping one child.

She said: “We know so far of one other child that has gone through this treatment and who is doing really well. But the only way we will get more children to receive this treatment is to get more children through these trials.”

Although known as a ‘trial,’ Oscar’s family say the CAR-T cell therapy, which is available in Singapore, is not experimental but their doctors' next recommended treatment option to treat his rare leukaemia.

The sad reality they have had to face is that treatments for children with cancer are limited – a fact also painfully apparent to Dr Kelly as she watched Grace struck down by the disease.

Grace was found to have a renal malignant rhabdoid tumour in 2014 and died just weeks later.

Dr Kelly said: “When Grace passed away her battle was very short. The type of cancer she had they hadn’t any treatment. When we heard about Oscar, we thought we really want to help this family and do what we can. There are so many families in similar situations.

“The reason we set up the charity was that when Grace died her parting wish was she wanted to help other boys and girls. Initially, it was about fundraising for research. I’m a GP and I became aware of how lacking it was for children with cancer.”

This year, a fresh opportunity to fulfil Grace’s last wish arose when Dr Kelly heard about Oscar. The trust contacted Oscar’s parents, Olivia Saxelby and Jamie Lee, after seeing a Facebook post in which Olivia shared information about a robot for ill children to use to interact remotely with their schoolmates.

Dr Kelly said: “For us, it was a really selfless act from Olivia. The post she shared said, ‘We won’t get the funding in time for Oscar but it might help someone else.’ We got in touch and decided to offer the robot to Oscar as a pilot project. It was the start of trying to help because of something that drew us to him.”

The two children have now become somewhat linked. Dr Kelly said: “There are a lot of parallels between Grace and Oscar. Grace sadly passed away the year Oscar was born. Like Oscar she had just started school and became unwell.”

Dr Kelly is keen to stress all of the money will be spent on Oscar’s treatment but, as there are no guarantees of success, it has been agreed that any money not used to help Oscar will, at the request of his parents, be used by the trust to fund further research on Oscar’s type of cancer.

She added: “For us, it’s just the story of a little girl helping another child. All these parallels, it seems right.

“The rates of childhood cancer are increasing. It’s going to become more of a problem.

“By getting behind the treatment for Oscar it could help other children. And, in the long term, if the funds aren’t used for Oscar, Olivia wants them to be used to help fund research for others too. They are a really selfless family.”

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