Five-year-old Harvey Hawkins was diagnosed with a colloid cyst in his brain

Catholic Herald readers have managed to raise enough money to allow a mother to take her ill son on a pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Five-year-old Harvey Hawkins, from Milton Keynes, was diagnosed with a colloid cyst in his brain, just before Christmas. After symptoms such as vomiting continued, Harvey’s parents, Anita and Neil, took him to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where doctors examined his brain and concluded that trying to remove the cyst could cause more damage than good.

Surgeons told Mr and Mrs Hawkins that the cyst would need to grow before they would have a chance of removing it. However, leaving it as it is could cause Harvey severe brain damage or even sudden death.

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Mr and Mrs Hawkins decided to raise money to take Harvey to Lourdes this month in the hope that he may be healed. Since the Catholic Herald reported on their appeal in July, readers of the paper have donated £2,125 to Harvey’s cause. This has exceeded the Hawkins’s original target of £1,700, which was the minimum amount they needed in order for Mrs Hawkins to be able to take her son to Lourdes.

Speaking now to the Catholic Herald, Mrs Hawkins said that she was “gobsmacked”. “I’m so overwhelmed. Words cannot describe how I feel about this. I never thought in 1,000 years this would be possible. I just don’t know how to thank everyone,” she said.

Mrs Hawkins and Harvey plan on leaving for Lourdes next Friday, where they will stay for one week. They are travelling with the children’s charity Glanfields. The pair will travel with Mrs Hawkins’s sister, who goes every year with her terminally ill daughter. During the visit, Mrs Hawkins plans on taking Harvey to the baths, the grotto, on a day trip to the mountains, and they will go to Mass every day.

She said: “Its going to be very full on. There will be no lie-in for me and I’ll need a holiday when we get back. I’m just excited for Harvey. He’s never been on a plane before,”

Harvey will go under general anaesthetic next Tuesday for an MRI scan.

Mrs Hawkins added: “I’m trying to stay positive. There are a lot of emotions flying around about this trip. But we’re doing this because we know that he needs to go. I hope that he will be healed.”

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