Zakky started playgroup in September 2015 at the age of two and was full of energy! He loved running around, playing football and mixing with the other children. There were certainly no worries about his health at the time.
But not long after he was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, a day before his third birthday. After visiting the GP due to Zakky’s ongoing tiredness, he was admitted to hospital for further investigation. He had multiple scans and tests, and surgery to insert a Hickman line – a central line where medicines could be administered. As Zakky recovered from the surgical procedures and the family waited for the results, Leeanne and Gareth recall how the days felt like years.
Zakky fell ill quickly after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma and had to start treatment as a matter of urgency. His treatment included multiple infusions of different chemotherapy drugs, stem cell rescue, surgery, radiotherapy and immunotherapy. As well as this, he has had multiple injections, blood tests, general anaesthetics, bone marrow aspirates and scans.
His frontline treatment came to an end in December 2016, after which there were no more treatment options available to him in the UK. This was a daunting prospect for his family with the knowledge of the high rates of relapse that come with such poor prognosis.
They identified the DFMO clinical trial in Michigan as an opportunity to continue his cancer therapy and try to keep his cancer away.
With thanks to so many kind-hearted people, the family were able to raise the funds needed for this trial, and Zakky began treatment on 2nd January 2017. The family made numerous visits to Michigan during that time and in January 2019, Zakky completed this treatment.
Scans confirm that Zakky continues to show no evidence of disease. In May 2022, his routine check-ups were moved from six monthly to yearly as everything remains well for Zakky. He continues to deal with after-effects caused by the intensive neuroblastoma treatment he has been through, but takes it all in his stride.
Solving Kids' Cancer UK's children's fundraising campaigns
Funds raised will go towards helping Zakky should he need further treatment not available through the NHS. Zakky's cancer, high-risk neuroblastoma is aggressive with high rates of relapse. At relapse, the chance of survival is extremely low. If Zakky no longer needs the funds or is in remission five years post the end of treatment, the funds will be used to support other children and families affected by neuroblastoma through our activities.