THE family of a four-year-old Leeds boy fighting childhood cancer neuroblastoma are staging a celebrity charity ball at the Queens Hotel as they bid to raise £200,000 for treatment not available on the NHS.
Toby Nye, of Osmondthorpe, was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma on his fourth birthday in January.
He underwent a ten-hour operation to remove a tumour from his kidney earlier this month and is currently in Leeds General Infirmary following 12 sessions of chemotherapy.
His family is staging Toby’s Christmas Charity Ball and Auction on Saturday November 25 at the Queens Hotel as they continue trying to raise £200,000 to pay for antibody therapy not currently widely available on the NHS.
A series of fundraising events have already raised almost £40,000 for the well-supported appeal..
Toby’s father Simon Nye, 30 and mother Stacey Worsley, said Toby is “cheeky, chatty and always smiling.”
Miss Worsley, 30, who works as an elderly care nurse at St James’s Hospital, said: “We just take it day by day. It is very upsetting and we have our times when we break down and get it out of our system but then we pull ourselves together and carry on.
She added: “There are people we don’t even know who are fundraising for Toby. It’s really overwhelming.”
Toby’s uncle Chris Cash, 50, of Crossgates, is organising the charity ball, which is set to be attended by two Coronation Street stars and Leeds boxer Josh Warrington, who has visited Toby in hospital.
Adele tribute act Joanne Copeman and comedian Jed Stone will be appearing at the event.
Among auction items will be a four-night stay at a five-star hotel in New York plus flights; boxing gloves signed by Floyd Mayweather and Josh Warrington and a football boot signed by England World Cup hero Geoff Hurst.
Mr Cash, who is appealing to local businesses to donate more auction items, said: “It is heartbreaking to see what Toby is going through.”
The cause has already been supported by members of the business community including Jason Rowan, managing director of Energy Save.
Mr Rowan has donated funds towards Toby’s treatment and bought a table for ten people at the charity ball. He said: “After being friends with Toby’s uncle for many years, I heard about his battle with neuroblastoma and it really hit a chord with me. Anyone who has kids will realise how heart-breaking this can be for a family.”
A Spokeswoman for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Whilst we aren’t commenting on any individual patient case, we believe that this type of antibody therapy could improve chances of survival for children with neuroblastoma who have successfully completed the intensive therapies we currently provide.
“The treatment is an antibody specially designed to ‘tag’ neuroblastoma cells so that the body’s immune system can attack and hopefully destroy them.
“We believe it improves survival of children who have been treated with very intensive therapies and in whom have no detectable or minimal amounts of neuroblastoma remaining at the end of their intensive treatment.
“This form of therapy is currently being assessed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which assesses the clinical and cost effectiveness of health technologies, such as new pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical products and procedures.
“This is to ensure that all NHS patients have equitable access to the most clinically effective and cost-effective treatments that are viable.
“NICE has not yet made a recommendation for the use of this treatment on the NHS.”
Tickets for Toby’s Christmas Charity Ball, priced at £50, are available by calling Chris Cash on 07831 351693.
To donate to the appeal, go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sheriden-worsley