THE mother of a schoolboy who overcame cancer this year says his recovery was partly down to the support of the community.
Eleven-year-old Toby Cunliffe was diagnosed with a type four brain tumour in April 2009. But thanks to a £200,000 appeal was sent to America to receive life-saving proton therapy.
Toby, who lives in Cedar Street, Braunston and attends Brooke Priory School in Oakham, said: “Next year I would really like to jump a 4ft fence on my horse and do a backflip on the trampoline.”
Mercury readers and members of the community helped Toby’s parents Louise and Andy and his younger sisters Tess and Elsie, to raise the money for the trip to Boston in the US, through the T4Toby appeal.
He was told he was in remission in March this year.
Louise also puts his recovery down to nutrition and healthy eating. She said: “I think it’s very easy to spoil your child with sweets and treats when they’re in hospital, but we’d take meals in for Toby and sit and eat them as a family.
“He was the only child on the ward who continued going to school throughout his treatment and we’re great believers in the benefits of healthy eating.”
Toby is now back at school full time but a fall from a horse that resulted in a broken arm in the summer has kept him from pursuing his sporting ambitions for the time being.
Louise said: “He’s back to being a normal boy and we’re back to being a normal family again. It’s not something that we ever thought would happen.
“He has been playing rugby this term but will have to wait until next year to play cricket again now.”
Andy added: “There is a much bigger chance of recovery if patients are supported by friends and family and the community has been fantastic.”
When Toby was in hospital he kept his spirits up by making paper aeroplanes.
Louise said: “We used to drive the nurses in the hospital crazy by throwing them around the ward.
“We still keep in touch with the doctors from America regularly and Toby has a paper aeroplane that he made and they all signed on his bedroom wall.
“He’s a typical boy and is just getting on with his life.”
Toby, who also enjoys playing his guitar, will be starting secondary school in September.
The appeal will stay open for another five years until Toby stops having regular MRI scans. Any remaining money will be donated to proton therapy research.