Doncaster rallies to help fund young Henri's cancer treatment in the United States

Doncaster is rallying around a young boy who is facing a second fight with cancer.

Monday, 20th March 2017, 7:35 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:07 am
Henri and Joann Crisp will head to the United States to continue his cancer treatment

Henri Crisp will soon head to the United States to continue his treatment for a brain tumour.

Henri will undergo proton therapy, after a tumour he had removed as a 10-month old returned.

Henri has faced the cancer fight before

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This week, the Wheatley residents will find out where the treatment will take place. They are waiting to see if there's a vacancy at Jacksonville, Florida, or Oklahoma City.

Henri needs £10,000 to cover living expenses while he's away. His treatment, flights and accommodation has been funded by the National Health Service.

His treatment will involve using a beam of protons to target the cancer cells. It comes after another operation in February to remove the tumour.

Henri's mother, Joann, has been touched by the generosity of Yorkshire people in donating to her son's cause.

Henri has faced the cancer fight before

She said she had never even met some of them.

"It's surprised me how good people have been," a tearful Mrs Crisp said.

"I've had messages from people I don't even know on Facebook, telling me they've organised this and that."

Her good friend Alison Maxfield has organised a fundraiser with a difference. It's a sponsored walk around Sandall Park, with everyone dressed as superheroes.

There's a raffle at Balby Tesco, and a hairdresser has offered a free manicure and haircut as a prize.

A fundraising page - - has been set up for people to donate to the cause.

Every pound counts in the quest to raise the massive amount of money.

"It sounds like an absolutely humongous amount to me," Mrs Crisp said.

"But, apparently, it's the average cost. It's scary."

Henri's young classmates at Kingfisher Primary School in Wheatley have been touching, Mrs Crisp said.

Henri's year group made cards which the teachers turned into a lovely book.

Mrs Crisp said the school had been 'really supportive' of Henri through his ordeal.

His condition makes him tire easily, so the school has allowed Henri to go home at 12pm every day.

Having family around has helped immensely. Henri is an only child.

Joanne's parents, sister and a close friend have been integral in their support.

There's even a Facebook page offering an outlet for parents of children with brain tumours.

A friendly chat is always a click away for members of the closed Facebook group.

"People are always there to offer support and advice," Mrs Crisp said.

The tumour coming back was a 'bolt from the blue', Mrs Crisp said, after Henri had done 'so well' over the past six years without chemotherapy.

It was picked up on one of his regular MRI scans.

The second tumour, Mrs Crisp said, is far smaller than the first. It's the size of a grape.

"Luckily we got it before there were any symptoms," Mrs Crisp said.

"The first tumour was like an orange," she said.

It was discovered when Henri was just 10 months old, in 2008.

"He was falling asleep all the time, and he's not a sleepy baby," she said.

"He was really poorly. He stopped eating solids.

"He was only drinking milk."

The most worrying signs were the moments he would 'zone out', and not respond to anything.

"He was just staring into space," Mrs Crisp said.

"I didn't have a clue what was wrong with him."

He had three operations and spent a month in the Sheffield Children's Hospital's Intensive Care Unit.

Doctors had to first drain Henri's brain before they could operate to remove the tumour.

The family went home to celebrate Henri's birthday on July 17, before the chemotherapy started.

Her little boy has been amazingly brave during the harrowing time since the condition has returned.

"He understands everything that's going on," she said.

"He's very upset and frightened."

A consultant at the hospital told Henri his condition had returned.

Mrs Crisp couldn't face the task.

"I was going to bawl my eyes out crying," she said.

"When we got home, he was firing a million questions all the time."

Mrs Crisp is scared of any side-effects her boy will endure.

They could include hormone problems and a malfunctioning pituitary gland.

Hormones from that gland help regulate blood pressure, human growth and metabolism.

Mrs Crisp said she had no choice but to seek out the treatment for him.

"If I don't take him, the tumour will come back."