Northern Ireland news

Belfast family need help to fund son's life-saving US cancer treatment

Zak Brennan and his parents, Gareth and Leeane
Gareth McKeown

THE parents of a Belfast child diagnosed with a rare form of cancer are asking for help to fund pioneering treatment in America for their son.

Just over a year ago Dundonald toddler Zak Brennan was diagnosed with the rare childhood cancer Neuroblastoma, days before his third birthday.

After a devastating year of chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplants and radiotherapy, time is running out to find a more permanent cure for the four-year-old's condition- with the best possible chance offered by cutting-edge trials in America.

Parents Leeanne and Gareth Brennan have launched the Zakky Brennan Fund in a bid to raise £134,000 to help fund the groundbreaking new treatment and to date have received almost half the amount in donations.

“The treatment Zak has had with the NHS has been exceptional but this cancer is really aggressive and to give him the best chance, we need to get this treatment in the US," his father said.

"Thankfully, he has been accepted onto this clinical trial pending end of treatment scans, but now we have to raise this huge sum of money to get him there,” he continued.

Since the fundraising campaign began local people have rallied round the family holding numerous events, collections and raffles, with all money raised to be held in a fund for Zak with the charity Solving Kids’ Cancer.

They have received the support of hundreds of individuals, dozens of local businesses as well as celebrities, including world champion boxer Carl Frampton and comedian Alan Carr.

To help the cause the Tigers Bay fighter donated the gloves he wore when he defeated Kiko Martinez to lift the European super-bantamweight title back in 2013.

“We have already raised more than £65,000 and we want to say a huge thank you to all the people who have been so supportive of us. Time is running out for us to raise this money. He would need to start treatment in the US in January so we only have a short time to raise a lot of money. Zak is a fighter. He’s had some dark days in the course of his treatment here in Northern Ireland but he gives it everything and we are determined to do everything we can for him,” Mr Brennan added.

To donate to the Zakky Brennan fund online visit: www.solvingkidscancer.org.uk/appeal/zakky

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