Family of Sunderland triplet, 6, battling stage four neuroblastoma fundraising £230,000 for cancer vaccine

A loving six-year-old triplet is bravely fighting stage four cancer as his family rally together to fundraise £230,000 for a potentially life-saving vaccine.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 3:19 pm

The world around Oliver Maw, six, and his family was turned upside down when the ‘caring’ youngster was diagnosed with stage four high risk neuroblastoma on February 19.

Separated from his identical brothers Owen and Oscar while receiving treatment at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, Oliver is fighting through gruelling rounds of chemotherapy ahead of an operation to remove the tumour in his stomach.

And as his treatment continues, mum Phillipa Maw and her family are trying to fundraise £230,000, with the help of the Bradley Lowery Foundation, to pay for a vaccine which is designed to reduce the chances of cancer returning – but is only available abroad.

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Oliver (middle) with brothers Oscar (left) and Owen (right) and big sister Lily.
Oliver (middle) with brothers Oscar (left) and Owen (right) and big sister Lily.

The Diamond Hall Infant Academy pupil lost his appetite, couldn’t keep food down and was enduring hot sweats through the night by early December and 39-year-old Phillipa took the then five-year-old to the doctors.

Then a lump began to develop under his arm and Oliver was rushed to A&E in early 2021.

Following MRI scans and blood tests at the RVI, Oliver was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma – a rare form of aggressive childhood cancer which has a high relapse rate.

On behalf of the family, who have all been supporting Oliver, aunt Joanne Maw told the Echo: “Doctors found that it started in his stomach and then spread to his bones and bone marrow.

Oliver, six, is going through gruelling chemotherapy treatment

"He has a tumour to the back of his stomach and he needs an operation to try and remove it before radiotherapy treatment.

"It’s just awful for a child to go through. It’s been so tough on the family and the triplets – they’re so close.”

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Doctors think Oliver might have had the cancer since he was born and there’s a chance it could be genetic or hereditary. His brothers may need to have blood tests, but it is under further investigation at this stage.

Oliver (right) is fighting stage four neuroblastoma. Pictured with identical brothers Owen (left) and Oscar (middle).

"Oliver has asked his mum what have I done to get this. She didn’t know what to say to him other than ‘you haven’t done anything wrong, you just need to keep fighting and be a brave lad’,” added Joanne.

"The nurses and doctors from the RVI have said he has been so brave throughout and he never complains.

“Oliver is just so caring. He would pick you a flower out of the garden and bring it to you just because. He is such a caring, lovely boy. He’s very creative and he’s been making lots of drawings for us while he’s been in hospital.

"He just loves playing with his brothers and playing outside.”

Oliver Maw's family have been raising funds for a vaccine which could prevent the cancer from returning

In a week, more than £10,000 of the £230,000 total has been raised which will pay for the vaccine.

It is only administered in New York although it is hoped the vaccine will become available in Barcelona, Spain, later this year before Oliver’s treatment is finished.

The family – including aunt Aylsa, uncle Peter and grandmother Valerie – have joined together to support Oliver and fundraise with Oliver's older sister Lily, 13, and aunt Joanne having already completed a sponsored 22.5km walk.

Gemma Lowery, founder and CEO of the Bradley Lowery Foundation, said: “It always hits home when a local child is diagnosed with neuroblastoma. We’re pleased to be able to support Oliver and his family as they start their journey to give him the very best chance of kicking cancer for good.

“We’d love to hear from our friends and supporters locally who can help Oliver reach this milestone fundraising target.”

Owen, Oliver and Oscar

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Owen, Oliver and Oscar pictured a couple of years ago.
Oliver has been described as a loving and caring little boy