A desperate race against time has begun to save a 10-year-old boy who has been diagnosed with an inoperable rare brain tumour.
Little Sumner Malik fell ill just a few short weeks ago and within days his devastated family was told the only treatment available was radiotherapy.
Now, the close-knit Malik family are trying to raise £80,000 to give Sumner a chance of taking part in a pioneering drugs trial not available on the NHS.
“It’s like a living nightmare,” said dad Camron, 49, whose family are all squash champions and train at K2 in Crawley. “You wake up every day hoping it’s gone, but it’s still there.”
Sumner - one of triplets - was playing squash when the first symptoms of the disease appeared: he was unable to see properly and had balance problems.
He was treated by his GP for a viral infection, but his worried family took him to A&E in Brighton - and from there he was rushed to King’s College Hospital in London where Camron and wife Suzan, 48, were given the devastating news.
“They said he hasn’t got long to live,” said Camron. “But we’re not giving up, we’re fighting this. We’re a strong family.”
Sumner has undergone 13 bouts of radiotherapy and is now fighting the tumour - known as DIPG or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma - with a strict diet and exercise regime. There are only 40 cases of DIPG diagnosed in the UK each year.
Sumner, along with his 10-year-old brothers Bailey and Heston - as well as sister Torrie, 12, and elder brothers Curtis, 17, and Perry, 15 - have all represented their country at squash and are being supported by the sports community in Crawley and Mid Sussex. Special T-shirts with a ‘Sunshine4Sumner’ logo have been made to highlight the family’s campaign. “None of us want to lose him,” said Camron. “We can’t imagine family life without him.”
But, he added: “We don’t want people to feel sorry for us; we want people to support us in our fight.”
To support Sumner go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sunshine4sumner
You can also help in a call for more research into DIPG by signing an on-line petition. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/131556