Mum of boy who had to fly to New York for cancer vaccine meets Health Secretary

Claire Scott raised £232,000 so her son Liam could travel to America for the vaccine and knows other families face the same struggle.

10 February 2022

A mother who had to raise £232,000 so her little boy could travel to New York for a potentially life-saving cancer vaccine is fighting to bring the treatment to the UK.

Claire Scott wants to help dozens of other families who now face the struggle she endured.

Her son Liam is cancer free after travelling to America for the experimental treatment, and she says Health Secretary Sajid Javid was “extremely sympathetic” to her cause when she met him earlier this week.

She told the PA news agency: “When Liam was going through treatments, when we were going through fundraising, those were the most difficult days of my life.

“I would feel like all of that meant something if it helped to cure others of the disease and get the vaccine available to others.”

Coronavirus – Mon May 4, 2020
Liam spent a year having painful cancer treatment for neuroblastoma, but his family feared that without the vaccine the cancer could return with potentially deadly consequences

Five-year-old Liam, from Edenbridge in Kent, spent a year undergoing gruelling treatment for neuroblastoma cancer after being diagnosed in 2019, the day after his sister Kylie was born.

The disease affects about 100 UK children each year and often requires aggressive medical intervention.

Despite Liam bravely battling through rounds and rounds of painful treatment, the nature of the rare disease meant there was a high risk of it coming back, which could have devastating consequences.

As Liam underwent the cancer treatment in the UK, his family and their friends set about raising £232,000 to get him to New York for the experimental cancer vaccine – which is not available on the NHS.

After successfully reaching their target, Liam spent several months flying back and forth to the USA for the treatment.

He is now home, cancer-free and enjoying being back at school.

Liam Scott illness

Liam Scott plays near his home in Edenbridge, Kent

Now his mother hopes to use her experiences to make sure no other family has to suffer the same traumas that she and her husband Mike faced.

As part of her quest to bring the vaccine to the UK, she met Mr Javid along with her MP Tom Tugendhat on Monday.

Mrs Scott told PA: “It went really well.

“(Mr Javid) was extremely sympathetic and compassionate to what we had been though and for how hard it is to watch your child suffering.

“I mentioned the costs and the stressful time we went through in terms of fundraising, especially during lockdown.

“And I mentioned that there are so many families going through this and it’s devastating – you are looking after a very ill child and you also have the stress of fundraising and the parents are traumatised.”

Mrs Scott says there are around 45 children in the UK with neuroblastoma whose families are trying to raise money to fund the same vaccine Liam had.

She said the Health Secretary told her that his team is looking into the experimental cancer vaccine and the possibility of bringing it to the UK.

“I really feel that he really wants to get this going.

“He said he would love to meet Liam,” she added.

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