A FAMILY desperately raising money for potentially life-saving treatment for their toddler say they have been 'overwhelmed' by the public's support.

Brave Freddie Thompson was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer - stage four neuroblastoma - last summer when he was just two-years-old.

He has since undergone surgery to remove the tumour and although the ten-hour operation was a success, Freddie was placed in an induced coma so his organs could recover from the surgery.

Currently the youngster is in an isolation ward at the Leeds General Infirmary, having had intensive chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant.

And despite everything that he has already gone through, there is a high chance that the cancer - which has just a 35 per cent survival rate - will return.

Freddie's parents, Emily and Philip are desperately trying to raise £250,000 to send him to America for pioneering treatment and within a week of them launching the 'Freddie's Fight' campaign, more than £40,000 has been donated by the public.

The family, who live in Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, says the response to Freddie's Fight has been overwhelming.

Speaking from beside Freddie's hospital bed in Leeds, Mrs Thompson said: "He has just started to get better over the last day or so but this has been the worst chemo that he has experienced.

"He has had lots of really nasty side effects unfortunately but they are getting better."

Little Freddie, who turned three on January 15, has had to endure unimaginable illness including hair loss, nausea and vomiting, blistering on the inside of his mouth and peeling, bleeding skin.

His liver has also become enlarged, a condition known as VOD caused by the high dose chemotherapy for his stem cell transplant leaving his body unable to process fluids.

Despite all this, Freddie was back smiling last week for the first time in over a month and Mrs Thompson said: "When Freddie is down, I am down, the whole family is down until he starts to pick up again.

"We get our positivity through Freddie; he is such a charismatic little boy, he loves to be bossing me around and ordering the nurses about.

"He is very strong-willed and he likes to do all his own medication - the nurses let him push the syringe in - he isn't like a typical three-year-old at all."

Sadly, even if in full remission, there is a 50 per cent chance of Freddie's cancer returning which is why the family are desperate to raise the funds for him to receive treatment in America.

Clinicians in the US have developed a new vaccine which, in previous trials, has decreased the chance of relapse to 30 per cent.

Mrs Thompson said: "While the cost to get him this bivalent vaccine in New York is massive, £250,000, the potential cost of him not receiving it are unthinkable."

Since the family revealed their fight to raise the funds online, the public has embraced it and a wealth of fundraising activities have been organised in the Thirsk area, from domino drives to sponsored walks, clothes sales and direct donations.

In a post thanking everybody, Mrs Thompson said the reality of neuroblastoma was 'worse then hell' and a 'destroying thing' for a mum to have to watch their child go through, but the public's support has helped.

She said: "It really restored my faith in humanity how generous people have been.

"I never, ever expected it (the donations) to shoot up so rapidly as it has done, there are some really wonderful people out there who have got behind us all."

  • Donations can be made via the Facebook page 'Freddie's Fight1'