The family of little miracle Jac Coffey are confident he will still “kick cancer’s ass” after new tumours were found.
Two more ependymoma tumours, like the one removed from his brain last year, were discovered in the three-year-old’s spinal cord just before Christmas.
The brave tot underwent five hours of surgery to remove them on December 29, and last Thursday he had his third operation to remove the rest of the tumour remaining in his brain.
A lumbar puncture also revealed cancer cells in Jac’s spinal fluid.
Now Jac’s parents Jay and Kayleigh, of Gaywood, are waiting to hear when he can start a six-week course of intensive radiotherapy.
Speaking this week from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where Jac is recovering following his operations, Mrs Coffey said he was a fighter.
“He’s a little bit grumpy and sleepy, but he’s doing really well,” she said.
Jac was given only days to live when he was diagnosed with the rare brain tumour last March. He underwent a 17-and-a-half-hour operation to remove the tumour which started at the back of his brain and wrapped around his spinal chord. Doctors said a tumour of that size was “a billion to one”, and they were able to remove around 95 per cent.
Before the cancer cells were found in his spinal fluid, Jac was due to travel to Florida to have pioneering proton therapy – a highly targeted type of radiotherapy not currently available in this country.
But Mrs Coffey said he will no longer travel there, unless new tumours form in future, as the radiotherapy he now requires targets spinal fluid rather than a tumour.
She said Jac’s recent diagnoses have come as a huge blow to the family, which also includes five-month-old son Leo.
In a community Facebook page called ‘Jac’s Journey’, she said: “It’s not the news we were expecting to hear. It’s still only the beginning though and Jac will kick cancers arse.”
In another post, she said: “We got told the day Jac was diagnosed that the odds were against him. They didn’t think he would survive surgery let alone be walking and talking, Now they said he’s a little miracle. He can beat this, I know in my heart that he can.”
Speaking to the Lynn News, Mrs Coffey said despite the shocking news, they were able to enjoy what was Leo’s first Christmas.
“I made a rule that we wouldn’t talk about it all on Christmas Day,” she said. “We had a normal Christmas like a normal family.”
Jac was overwhelmed with gifts from well-wishers, as well as family and friends, with more than 100 presents to open.
Kindhearted fundraisers are also continuing to pull out all the stops in aid of Jac, with around £10,000 raised so far. Although it won’t now be spent on proton therapy in Florida, it will be saved in case he needs the treatment in future.
The latest donation was £265 from the Springwood and Dersingham Slimming World groups, run by consultant Mark Godfrey.
And the family can now look forward to a well-deserved holiday when he is well enough, thanks to Rocco’s Legacy.
The charity, set up by Kim and Andrew Hunter in memory of their two-year-old son Rocco, has donated £500 worth of holiday vouchers to the family.
The Castle Acre couple also helped make Christmas magical for the Coffeys, and less stressful ahead of Jac’s spinal operation on December 29, when they bought and delivered their Christmas food shopping as a surprise.
“Kim came round in the week before Christmas with all the Christmas food shopping,” said Mrs Coffey.
“There were bags and boxes with meat, and everything we would need.”
They also received a special mattress thanks to funds raised through Rocco’s Legacy, which will alert them if Jac suffers from a fever-induced seizure.
“Kim and her husband have been amazing, we’ve been overwhelmed by their support,” said Mrs Coffey.
Mr and Mrs Hunter became aware of Jac’s story after a friend shared the ‘Jac’s Journey’ Facebook page on social media.
Rocco died last July as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), brought on by a febrile convulsion. The couple founded the charity to raise awareness of the seizures, and have raised more than more than £12,000.