The mother of a three-year-old boy who is battling an aggressive form of cancer after initially being told he had a virus is now desperately trying to raise $300,000 for treatment in the US.
When Victorian youngster Ryder Grace began struggling to sleep after developing virus-like symptoms, he was taken to multiple GPs, who told him to take Nurofen every five to six hours.
They had no idea he was suffering from Metastatic Neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer that affects just one in 100,000 people.
"At first he just started limping randomly without there being any real pain, he had a low-grade fever that would come and go," his mother, Katherine Grace, told Yahoo7 News.
"I took him to the GP eight times in total, they just said he had a virus and an unrelated strain."
Concerned he may be suffering from leukaemia, Ms Grace went against doctors wishes and ordered a blood test.
"The doctors didn’t want to do a blood test, they didn’t want to put a three-year-old through the trauma of doing it," she said.
While the results didn't show any sign of leukaemia, they also didn't detect the neuroblastoma.
When his condition didn’t improve for five weeks, Ryder was taken to the Royal Children’s Hospital and underwent a biopsy where doctors took bone marrow samples and figured out what was causing the youngster so much pain.
“It had spread to every part of his skeleton, much of his soft tissue and in to his bone marrow. He was in pain, everywhere,” Ms Grace added.
Ryder has now completed his seventh round of chemotherapy that saw him spend 42 days in hospital and undergo a bone marrow transplant.
His nervous mother said that even with his strong response to his initial treatments, Ryder still has a 50 per cent chance of relapsing.
There is a treatment in the US that Ms Grace believes will give Ryder the best chance of survival, but it is also the most expensive - a 12-month trial vaccine in New York that will set the family back more than $200,000 before travel costs.
“Unfortunately, while reaching remission after all this treatment is very likely (in Ryder’s case), neuroblastoma is a notoriously recurrent cancer."
"Once he relapses, there’s no coming back... there is no alternative in Australia," she said.
Ms Grace has now launched a public appeal to try to raise enough money to transport her son to the US for the treatment.
Ryder is currently eligible for the trial and will be accepted if he has clear scans at the end of immunotherapy.
"The trial is to test a vaccine given over 12 months that aims to help the body recognise and fight potential developments of more cancer," she said.
Ms Grace this week took to GoFundMe to thank everyone who has helped raise more than $18,400.