The devastated parents of a Dulwich toddler diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer have launched a fundraising campaign to give him the best chance of surviving.
When cheeky and affectionate Teddy became fearful and clingy and stopped crawling at sixteen months old, his parents Emma Mayo and Jamie Mascaro knew something was wrong.
Doctors initially suspected a virus, but tests soon revealed a tumour in his tummy and he was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma in April this year.
“Not in our wildest dreams could we have imagined it was cancer,” said Teddy’s mum, Emma. “We were in denial, utterly broken and totally devastated.
“I remember clutching Teddy and sobbing. All we could think was that our baby was going to die.
“We simply couldn’t believe this was happening to our precious boy.”
Teddy, now nineteen months old, quickly began NHS treatment, which has seen him go through seven blood transfusions and a number of gruelling rounds of chemotherapy.
But while his treatment continues, his future is uncertain, as high-risk neuroblastoma is a particularly aggressive and complex cancer to treat.
Sadly, the disease returns in about 40-50 per cent of children – and if this happens, less than one in ten of those young people will survive.
Teddy’s family are raising money they may need to access treatment or clinical trials not available through the NHS, to give him the best chance of beating the disease.
This could require hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“Teddy has shown amazing spirit, handing out high fives to the doctors and nurses and sharing his obsession with horses with them,” said Teddy’s dad, Jamie.
“But it’s heart-breaking as every day we know he’s fighting for survival.
“We’re doing everything we can to give Teddy hope for the future.”
Steve Richards, chief executive of Solving Kids’ Cancer, the charity supporting Teddy’s family, said: “We’re here for parents like Teddy’s, offering expert information to help them make choices about their child’s treatment.
“We support families to raise the money needed, give emotional and practical support and fund ground-breaking research to improve survival rates.
“Please help us give Teddy the best chance of living cancer-free.”
You can donate to Teddy’s appeal via www.solvingkidscancer.org.uk/campaigns/teddy-mascaro or text donate TEDM55 and your amount £1 – £10 to 70070.
Follow and share Teddy’s story on Facebook @teamsuperteddy or Instagram @mamaandtbear