Blue, eight, declared free of cancer after 'miracle' treatment

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A "miracle" eight-year-old boy who was cured of cancer has thanked the doctors who saved his life as he was given the all-clear.

Blue Tobin, from Canterbury, Kent, was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer known as acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) when he was just two years old but on Thursday brought cakes and flowers to the team who saved his life.

Doctors needed to put his leukaemia into remission so he could have a bone marrow transplant yet his cancer returned twice despite being treated with chemotherapy.

Blue's only hope was a high-risk, ground-breaking treatment which had never been used on someone so young.

There was just a 10-15% chance it would work but Blue's mother Francesca Waite, 51, gave the team at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, south west London, permission to try.

Speaking at the hospital on the day her son was declared cured, she told the Press Association: "There was no choice really, he was going to die anyway, so myself and his dad decided that there was no question, we were going to do it."

Dr Mike Potter, who cared for Blue, believed it was the first time the two treatments, Cyclophosphamide and Etoposide, had ever been used together on a child so young.

He said: "It is almost a miracle to from that point be cured.

"We used... really high dose chemotherapy, strong drugs, that had been used in adults before with AML but not in children."

Blue was "at a point when normally he wouldn't be considered for a transplant", Dr Potter said.

The boy's ordeal started five years ago when he began having nosebleeds and bruising easily, which led to him being diagnosed with AML.

His mother said: "I'd heard of leukaemia but I'd never heard of cancer in children.

"I'd heard of Anthony Nolan who the bone marrow transplant was done through but I never thought it was going to happen to my son."

Blue relapsed twice and an emotional Ms Waite recalled hearing the bad news the second time in February 2012.

"I was on my own here and I was taken into a room and the doctor told me there was nothing more they could do for Blue and I was to take him home.

"It was going to be weeks, they would send the palliative care team round.

"The palliative care team came round the day after got home and it was all a blur really, I just remember my mum saying 'I don't know why you're here because he's not going anywhere'."

The family received a phone call 10 days later from a doctor asking them to come back to the hospital and suggested trying a new drug which had never been used on a child before.

Dr Potter said: "Blue's mum ... wanted to take any chance for Blue as any parent would.

"We were aware of this data in adults which was encouraging and the timing was right, we just decided to do it."

The treatment was successful and Blue was able to have a bone marrow transplant, but was very ill and contracted several viruses while recovering and didn't leave hospital until July 2013.

He was joined by his parents, sister and grandparents to be given the all-clear on Thursday afternoon by Dr Potter and ring the ward's "end of treatment" bell.

Ms Waite said: "It will be the first time in first years that I won't have to worry about coming back or him being sick."

Blue, a Chelsea FC fan, thanked the staff and said he was "very happy" to be cured, and is set on becoming a singer who is "more famous than Bruno Mars".

His mother urged other parents faced with the same prognosis to "never give up", adding: "My son is a miracle."

"Keep strong, keep positive and never ever give up," she said.