UK

Fundraiser to help young boy access lifesaving cancer treatment passes £200,000

Teddy Lichten was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer, in July 2022 (Kat Lichten/PA)
Teddy Lichten was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer, in July 2022 (Kat Lichten/PA) Teddy Lichten was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer, in July 2022 (Kat Lichten/PA)

The mother of a four-year-old boy with cancer said it was “really exciting” to pass the milestone of raising £200,000 for his potentially lifesaving treatment.

Teddy Lichten was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer, in July 2022, at which point the cancer had already spread to nearly every area of his body and had taken over 60% of his bone marrow.

In February, his parents launched a £300,000 fundraising appeal to help them raise money for a potentially life-saving cancer vaccine in New York.

Teddy’s mother, Kat Lichten, 34, told the PA news agency that it felt “amazing” to have raised £200,000 “because we set out to raise a huge amount of money and it seemed like a really impossible task at the time”.

In February, Teddy’s parents launched a £300,000 fundraising appeal to give their son the best chance of beating cancer (Kat Lichten/PA)

She said: “It really starts to feel like we’re definitely going to reach our target and get Teddy access to the treatment that we want him to have so that’s really exciting.”

The family learned that they reached the milestone while in hospital with Teddy.

Ms Lichten, who lives in Hassocks, West Sussex, said: “We were having our first family holiday ever and after over a year of treatment, we really, really needed it but then Teddy suddenly became unwell and we had to rush him off site to take him to hospital and our holiday was just over.

“I was feeling really disappointed and really sad for him that he misses out on so many experiences, so to then find out that we had gone over £200,000, it was a really good pick me up.”

The family got a further boost to morale when Teddy started his first day at school on Monday.

Ms Lichten said: “That was a lovely little moment that just felt like we were having one of those normal moments that normal families have and we don’t get so many of those because so much about our lives is completely abnormal.

“There’s so many experiences that he’s missed out on so for him to be able to start school was really special for us.”

Teddy began six months of immunotherapy and is due to finish frontline treatment at the start of 2024 (Kat Lichten/PA)

After undergoing several gruelling rounds of chemotherapy and other treatments, he began six months of immunotherapy and is due to finish frontline treatment at the start of 2024.

Ms Lichten said: “What we hope is that we’ll get Teddy into remission here in the UK on his frontline cancer treatment plan and then access maintenance treatment abroad, which would cost up to £300,000.”

“There are two different maintenance trials available in the US that we’d like to access and then the fundraising is also a backstop.

“If his UK treatment isn’t able to get him into remission, or if he were to relapse, there are groundbreaking other treatments available elsewhere in Europe which could potentially get him into remission or get him back into remission.

Teddy’s fundraiser reached the two-thirds mark during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which Ms Lichten said “feels quite important to us”.

She added: “I think, like so many people, we were not really aware of the reality of childhood cancer before it affected our family.

“It feels good that we’re able to spread awareness of childhood cancer at the same time as fundraising.”