THE family of a baby boy with a rare and aggressive cancer have held a big party to celebrate his first birthday.
Jacob Johnson was diagnosed with a malignant rhabdoid tumour (MRT) in July last year, aged just six months old, after a lump the size of a drink’s can appeared on his head.
He underwent an operation to have the lump removed and an intensive course of chemotherapy, but tumours returned and have now spread to his lungs.
His father, Daniel Johnson said his life was turned upside down by the diagnosis, and he has given up work as a plasterer to spend weeks at a time in the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle.
Mr Johnson has now decided to make every minute of his son's life count.
The 24-year-old, from Crook, County Durham, said: “They have thrown everything they can at beating these tumours but they keep coming back.
“I’ve been told he only has months to live, so rather than see him in hospital I brought him home to try and create as many memories as we can.
“It’s been terrible, I never expected something like this could happen.
“But I’ll worry about it and feel sad tomorrow, if I do it today then I am just wasting the little time I have with my son.
“We will keep going and make the most of him while he is here.”
Mr Johnson threw a big birthday party for Jacob, who turned one on Friday (January 24), at the Spectrum Leisure Centre in Willington this weekend.
He is also planning a trip to Donna’s Dreamhouse, a charity in Blackpool that offers holidays for sick children and their families.
Mr Johnson is hoping a new drugs trial in London may offer some hope of giving him a little longer with his son, but knows that there is no cure for his illness.
He said: “I want to thank everybody who has supported us, I would not have been able to get through this without my family.”
Less than 50 cases of MRT in children have been found in the world since 1979, with only 20 per cent of those surviving.
Mr Johnson has already raised more than £6,500 for the Newcastle ward where Jacob was treated, and will hold a children’s fancy dress party followed by a fundraising night featuring a Full Monty show at Crook Working Men’s Club on Saturday, March 1.
The free children’s party will run from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, with the evening show starting at 7pm and tickets costing £5.