THE MOTHER of a brave boy with a rare cancer is trying to raise funds to keep her family together over the Christmas period.
Hannah Allan's son Ryan was born with multiple medical conditions including a lump at the bottom of his spine, which they later discovered was a chordoma – a rare type of bone cancer.
Last week the family, from Chapel Field in St Austell, found out the 11-year-old requires proton beam radiotherapy, which is not available in this country.
His hospital offered to pay to send Ryan and his mum to America for the ten-week treatment, but she said they would not pay to send his sister Chloe, who is 13.
"We are desperate not to be split up," said Ms Allan. "The thought of not all being together for Christmas is just terrible. I can't leave my daughter behind.
"She has come to hospital appointments with him since he was a baby. She's like his second mum and I don't think they would be able to part."
Ms Allan said she wants to raise £1,500 for Chloe's flights, transfers, travel insurance, visa waivers and living costs for the family.
Any extra raised would go towards treating and entertaining the children once they are in Jacksonville, Florida. They have raised £235 so far.
Ryan will be only the second person in Cornwall to go to America for this treatment.
His mum said that if he had radiotherapy in the UK the risks to his nervous system, spinal cord, legs, bowels and fertility would increase.
"He could lose the use of his legs and that would absolutely devastate him."
Proton beam radiotherapy is due to come to the UK for the first time, in Manchester, in 2014.
Its main advantage is that it can more precisely localise the radiation dosage, compared to other types of radiotherapy now available in the UK. Ms Allan said the treatment will not be painful as Ryan will have general anaesthetic every day.
This week Ryan will travel to Bristol to have a Hickman line – a catheter used to administer medication – inserted into a main artery. This means he will not have to have the anesthetic injected every day while in America.
His mum said Ryan has been incredibly brave throughout his treatment and "he may be tiny, but he certainly makes up for it in personality".
"This certainly hasn't been easy, but caring for Ryan is incredibly rewarding," she said.
"When he was born we were told he might not be able to do anything, so every step he took was a complete blessing."
To donate to the Allan family's cause, visit: www.gofundme.com/1afgxk or contact the Cornish Guardian on 01726 871098 or at email@example.com.
A fun day is being held at the Welcome Inn, Par, on Saturday, November 3, to raise funds.
Ms Allan added: "I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has already donated."