The parents of a five-year-old boy with a brain tumour are trying to raise money for a pilgrimage to Lourdes so their son can be blessed before a life-or-death operation.
Harvey Hawkins, from Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, was diagnosed with a colloid cyst six months ago, after being delirious for days and suffering episodes of vomiting. His parents Anita and Neil have so far resisted surgery as an option after they were told that operating on the tumour could cause more harm than good.
Harvey started showing symptoms just before Christmas, and doctors initially suspected that he had gastritis. However, after he continued vomiting, his mother took him to hospital where he remained for five days. Doctors at John Radcliffe’s Hospital in Oxford eventually confirmed that he had a colloid cyst in his brain.
Colloid cysts are rare and account for 1.5 per cent of brain tumours. They are not cancerous, but they have the same life-threatening effects as cancerous lumps.
Harvey’s parents have been told that they must wait for the cyst to grow before surgeons have a hope of removing it, as currently it is too small. However, leaving the cyst as it is risks severe brain damage and even sudden death.
Mrs Hawkins described her son as a “normal happy little boy, but with a ticking time bomb in his brain”.
She told The Catholic Herald: “If you saw him, you wouldn’t think twice that there’s anything wrong with him.”
She said: “We just have to wait for the worst to come and then it is a matter of time whether we can save him. It’s very hard to live with.”
Mrs Hawkins added that she “prayed constantly through the night and through the day”.
She added that every time there was a change in Harvey’s condition they had to rush him to hospital.
Mrs Hawkins said she was inspired to go to Lourdes by her sister, who takes her disabled daughter there every year. The four will travel there at the end of August.
“We believe in the blessing and we believe in miracles and hope. I want Harvey to have the blessing, I want him to experience the holy water,” she said.
Mrs Hawkins is trying to raise £1,700 for the trip. So far her and her husband have raised £700 from hosting fun days in their garden, with bouncy castles, barbecues and face painting.
For more information, visit the ‘Hope 4 Harvey MK’ Facebook page.
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