The parents of a five-year-old Borehamwood boy diagnosed with a “rare and aggressive” cancer have praised the community’s generosity as they attempt to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for his treatment.
Since being diagnosed in July 2017, Jake Cohen has completed 15 rounds of different chemotherapies for stage-four neuroblastoma, which primarily affects children. Around 100 are diagnosed with neuroblastoma in the UK each year.
According to the charity, Solving Kids’ Cancer, almost half will suffer a relapse, at which point the survival rate is just ten per cent.
Jake’s parents Hannah and Adam have raised £60,000 in a little over a month, mostly from the community, towards possible further treatment abroad, estimated to cost at least £200,000.
Mrs Cohen, 36, told the JC she had been “amazed” by the generosity of donors, but stressed: “There is a long way to go.
“When Jake was diagnosed, we were on the floor for several weeks – everything fell apart. I look back to that early stage and I’m amazed I can talk about it now so rationally.”
The diagnosis was also on day of the death from neuroblastoma of six-year-old Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery, whose plight had been widely reported. “And I was on maternity leave with our daughter, Phoebe.
“Our life before this feels like a long, long time ago.
“It forces you to focus very much on the moment. It robs you of the ability to plan for the future.
“But Jake has been a star. He was so young when he was diagnosed – it’s like it’s all he knows. But he has coped with all the treatment really well. We are so proud of him.”
The PTA at Yavneh, Jake’s school, has planned a series of fundraising events for the Cohens, who say that nine months remain on Jake’s current treatment plan, including immunotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.
The Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue members then plan to travel to New York, where Jake will receive a bivalent vaccine, an experimental treatment which Solving Kids’ Cancer says shows “promising signs in reducing the chances of the cancer coming back”.
Mrs Cohen noted that “our journey to date has had so many unexpected additional steps. We just want to ensure we are ready for whatever the future may bring in terms of Jake’s treatment.”
If further treatment abroad is not needed, or Jake goes into remission for five years after successful therapy, money raised for him will go into a fund supporting other children affected by neuroblastoma, through Solving Kids’ Cancer.
Mr Cohen, 36, added that “watching your child going through intensive cancer treatment is horrific. Every drug Jake has received has potential long- or short-term side-effects and he has spent more time in hospital than most people do in their lifetime.
“However, he deals remarkably well with everything that is thrown at him and he has a happy, positive outlook on life.”
Alternatively, donations can be sent by SMS by texting 'JKCN99' – along with an amount between £1 and £10 – to 70070