Sam plays outside

On the 4th January 2013, Christine and Carl Shaw’s beautiful little boy Sam was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, a highly aggressive form of childhood cancer.

Just five days later, Sam’s parents received the devastating news that their son’s cancer was classed as stage 4, meaning it had spread from the main tumour to Sam’s bones and bone marrow, and he had a long term survival chance of less than 40%.

Sam's story

Sam’s initial symptoms were very vague and came and went over several months until they seriously escalated. Tests showed that Sam’s ESR and CRP, blood tests results that indicate inflammation and tissue damage, were highly elevated. Sam was referred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for more tests with suspected rheumatoid arthritis. By this time he was unable to walk at all. An ultrasound investigation found fluid on his hips and then the tumour in Sam’s adrenal gland was discovered.

Sam’s mother Christine said, “As a parent, all you want is to protect your child and see them grow up healthy and happy. Sam’s diagnosis has left us feeling completely helpless in the face of this terrible disease that has taken over our little boy’s body."

He faced months of gruelling treatment including 80 days of intense chemotherapy, followed by surgery, further high dose chemotherapy, stem cell rescue, and radiotherapy and then, we hope immunotherapy in America.

Treatment

Sam went through so much; a procedure to have a central line inserted into his main artery to allow chemotherapy to be administered, countless X-rays, ultrasounds, gamma scans, echo cardiograms, ECG’s, MIBG scan, CT scans, biopsies, daily injections, the insertion of a nasal gastric feeding tube as well regular examinations, blood pressure checks, thumb pricks and more.

"But at every stage he was amazingly courageous – the doctors and nurses can’t believe how brave he is. He hardly ever cried, took his medicines on his own with no fuss and he was the best ‘sleeping lion’ when it comes to CT scans. He is just our amazing hero.”

In the first few weeks following his diagnosis little Sam was very poorly. His parents could only watch and witness how the challenging treatment knocked the stuffing out of him. Christine said, “Sam lost weight rapidly before our very eyes and we felt our little boy slipping away, but then he showed us what a fighter he is! Sam has started to put weight back on, and we feel that our happy, cheeky, energetic little boy, so full of character, has returned to us."

Desperate to get Sam to the United States for potentially life-saving treatment, family and friends launched the Sam Shaw Appeal with Solving Kids' Cancer, successfully raising £250,000 for pioneering immunotherapy treatment.

Remission and growing up

Sam received the amazing news that he had no evidence of neuroblastoma in 2014. Since then he has been living life to the max! 

He's now ten-years-old and it's more than five years since he completed treatment.