Sunderland boy faces fresh fight against cancer

Kian Armstrong, four, who despite his illness, is set to help fund-raising for others.

Kian Armstrong, four, who despite his illness, is set to help fund-raising for others.

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AN inspirational little boy faces a fresh fight with cancer after his family thought he’d beaten the disease.

For the past 17 months Kian Armstrong, four, has smiled his way through a catalogue of gruelling treatment including:

•A series of high-intensity chemotherapy

•A seven-and-a-half operation to remove a tumour on his bowel

•A six month course of immunotherapy treatment to wipe out his immune system and build it up again

•Stem cell harvesting

•Further surgery to remove an ulcerated part of his bowel

•Months at a time in hospital in isolation

After all that, the Castletown youngster and his family were hopeful he could return to a normal life, but end of treatment scans have revealed a tumour in his stomach.

Kian, who has touched the heart of the community with his brave fight, now has to return to hospital for a new course of radiotherapy after specialist scans in London showed a 6mm growth.

Mum Jemma, 30, said: “Kian has never complained, he’s smiled his way through all of this, even when he’s just come out of surgery. He’s prepared to fight this and we are prepared to fight with him. Whatever it takes, we will reach the stage where he is free of this.”

Kian was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that develops from nerve cells, in March last year when he was just two.

He finished his last round of treatment this month and his family were looking forward to a future free of cancer.

“We’d told Kian that the cancer had gone and had bought thank you presents for the nurses at the RVI, who have been fantastic,” said Jemma, who is married to Neil, 39.

The mum-of-four, who lives in Parkhouse Avenue, added: “He’s been doing really well, he’s had his central line removed, he’s had his energy back and he looks fantastic.

“He wasn’t phased when we told him about the tumour in his stomach, he just gets on with it. He always stays positive so that’s how we have to be.

“What has been hard for him and the other kids is losing friends they’ve met on the ward.” One of Kian’s friends, in particular, has proved inspirational.

During a holiday to Haggerston Castle, in Northumberland, which was donated by Jolene Casey from the PussyDoll Palace, Kian met Zara Fort from Blackfell in Washington who was fighting a rare brain cancer.

Zara was Kian’s Valentine this year and the pair became inseparable. Zara, five, died in March but such was Kian’s bond with her that he named his new pet chihuahua Princess Zara and decided he would like to buy a caravan at the site they met.

It will be available to families of children who are going through cancer treatment to give them a break.

Jemma, who is also mum to Keith, 14, Keeley, 11 and Kyle, eight, said: “This has been so hard for the other kids too but we could not put a price on how valuable that holiday in Haggerston was for us. It was such a carefree time for them. All the support we’ve had, from donations to messages, has meant so much and I can’t thank people enough.”

She added: “Kian loves it up there and he is adamant he wants other kids to be able to go there. He sat down with me and drew up a logo and came up with the name Kian’s Gift.”

She added: “We don’t know what tomorrow holds but we will make Kian’s dream of buying this caravan become a reality.”

A series of Kian’s Gift fund-raising will take place over the coming months and Kian’s Gift wristbands, priced £2, are available from the Premier convenience shop in Castletown, Ebay, So Delicious in Red House, Tan ‘n’ Glo in Roker, Barnet’s Barbers in Pallion and the Pussydoll Palace in Hylton Road.