Brave Rhys’s battle inspires local firms

Rhys Ryan with mum Emma and brother Jack.  (121019M4b)

Rhys Ryan with mum Emma and brother Jack. (121019M4b)

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A local lad battled brain

cancer after a life-saving operation in America, made possible by funds from local firms.

Rhys Ryan, 4, of Dishforth, took a life-saving trip to Oklahoma for a special type of radiotherapy which reduces the chances or severity of any detrimental side-effects.

The procedure, called Proton Therapy, is not available on the NHS but Rhys met the criteria to receive NHS-funding for the treatment.

The family – which includes mum Emma, 30, dad Paul, 37, and little brother Jack, two – still needed a £5,000 budget for their six-week stay in America, where Rhys spent five days a week in hospital receiving treatment.

Thanks to the help of local businesses, including Happy Jays nursery and Absolute Fitness gym in Boroughbridge, the family raised over £9,000, £3,000 over the original target.

Rhys’s mum Emma, a primary school teacher, said: “We were over-whelmed by how many different businesses donated. It was a real big community effort.”

Cycling and swimming fan Rhys, who is in reception class at Dishforth Village School, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in May. After an 11-hour operation at Leeds General Infirma ry later that month, the family were told that the tumour was cancerous and Rhys needed radiotherapy to prevent it from returning.

But now little Rhys is back in school with his friends – and even back playing a spot of golf with his dad.

“We cannot thank all the staff at the hospital enough – it’s all the little things that have helped. Rhys has got a very mature head on him. He went back to school and we never thought this would happen so soon. He can now read. It’s absolutely unbelievable,” said Emma.

The family will keep the remaining funds in a pot for Rhys – who still has to have an MRI scan every three to six months for the next six years. Any left over fundraising money will go to Yorkshire children’s cancer charity, Candlelighters.