Fundraisers have launched an appeal to send a six-year-old boy who is battling a rare form of childhood cancer to Disneyland.
Ilhan Ates-Suddes, from Scarborough, was first diagnosed with Fibrosarcoma two years ago and is undergoing rounds of intensive chemotherapy. If that doesn’t work, his family may take him to America for proton beam therapy, a type of radiotherapy.
The soft tissue tumour just below his chin has meant he has had to endure constant trips to hospital, and painful surgery and he often has to be fed through a tube. After learning of the youngster’s ordeal, Scarborough-based Sniper Fitness has pledged to raise money to send Ilhan and his family to Paris to meet his Disney heroes, including Mickey Mouse.
The tot’s mother Margaret Suddes, 26, who lives in Seamer Road, said: “I used to do the Sniper Fitness bootcamps but had to stop going when Ilhan got poorly. They contacted me a few months ago and asked if they could do something for him.
“Ilhan absolutely loves Disney so I thought this could be something for him to look forward to when he’s finished his treatment. I am so grateful to them, it’s fantastic.”
Following treatment at Scarborough Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary, Ilhan was given the all-clear last April.
But in a devastating blow, his parents were told the cancer had returned three months later after his mum spotted another lump on his neck.
Margaret said: “After a CT scan, they decided to remove it because it had grown so much and it was too close to the facial nerve. He then had to have six months of chemotherapy. In that time his eating was deteriorating and the tumour was still growing. By February this year it had grown 30 per cent.
“I couldn’t even process it. To have it happen once is heartbreaking but to have it happen twice is just devastating.”
The latest scan has shown a slight improvement, but the family, including dad Dogan Ates and two-year-old sister Hazal, are hoping the next set of results are more positive.
Margaret said: “If the chemo doesn’t work we will take him to America for proton beam therapy, which is a type of radiotherapy, as a final attempt. We are trying to shrink it as much as possible first.
Ilhan is currently in the middle of his fourth cycle of chemotherapy and although it was meant to be six rounds, Margaret has been told it might have to increase to 12.
But despite his gruelling treatment, Margaret said the former Gladstone Road Primary School pupil , who is now being home-schooled, was a fighter.
“He’s been coping really well, much better than expected. He has to go to Leeds General Infirmary all the time and he has really bonded with ‘Sister Sue’, he actually gets upset when he has to leave,” she said.
“Sometimes he gets so poorly after chemotherapy he cries as it makes him sick and makes his arms and legs tingle. It’s heartbreaking but if it means he gets better then I have to let him do it.”
Margaret is hoping Ilhan will be in remission by the end of the year following his treatment.
“It’s always in my head if it doesn’t work what’s going to happen but if I start thinking like that I’m not fighting,” she said.
“He’s six years old and his life hasn’t even started yet. It’s really hard I just hope to God this time is his last time so he can live a normal life like a child should. He shouldn’t have to worry about going outside because of the risk of infection. The cancer has taken away his balance so he can’t ride a bike and he can’t go swimming or to the cinema. It’s the small things that you take for granted.” Sniper Fitness, which invites members to compete in a number of events throughout the year to raise money for charity, is hoping to raise around £2,000 for Ilhan’s trip.
Mark Millard, who runs the fitness outfit with his partner Laura Baudoino, said: “Margaret used to be a member of our bootcamps and we wanted to help out. We do a lot of fundraising for local charities but this is more personal. We want to do everything we can to reward Ilhan’s bravery as it’s unimaginable how hard it must be for child to go through something like this.”
The two main fundraising events will be the Scarborough Dragon Boat Race at Wykeham Lakes on June 7 and the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge in July.
For more information or to make a donation contact Laura on 07709 854535 or send a message via the Sniper Fitness Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Sniperfitnessbootcamps