Charlie Shirran was a very normal, happy, 9-month old little boy. However, his family’s whole world turned upside down after noticing a hard lump on his face back in March this year.
After further tests, Charlie was diagnosed with Stage 4, high risk neuroblastoma – the cancer had already spread to his bones. In order to treat the aggressive cancer, Charlie would require relentless toxic treatments which can themselves, lead to long term side effects, including loss of hearing and learning difficulties and infertility.
Undergoing months of intensive chemotherapy, major surgery to remove his primary tumour, a five week long stem cell transplant, and another round of radiotherapy, 18 month old Charlie is now embarking on a course of immunotherapy.
Unfortunately however, even after Charlie finishes his treatment there is still a 50 per cent chance of the cancer coming back. To help reduce this statistic, his parents Mark and Jo have been busy raising funds so that he can trial a vaccine in New York next year which has showed promising results in relapsed cases.
They have also helped preserve his fertility for the future, by undertaking a pioneering treatment known as Testicular Tissue Cryopreservation.
Although unsure of what the future may hold for little Charlie, the Shirran family are taking each day as it comes and breathing in, soaking up and enjoying every moment that they have together.
Charlie’s mum Jo said: “life is so precious and it’s a shame it takes something so shocking and unfair for us to realise how unbelievably lucky we are”.