Arthur gets ready for life-changing trip for treatment

Arthur Kingham with mum Rachel
Arthur Kingham with mum Rachel

A family has started packing for a trip which could change their lives forever.

Arthur Kingham, three, will fly to Austria for treatment to wean him off the tube he has been fed through for the past two years next Friday after kind-hearted readers raised £32,000.

His mother Rachel, of School Road, Mawsley, said: “I just want to be able to sit at our table with Arthur in his high chair and eat dinner.

“It has been two years since we sat at a table and had a family meal together. That’s all I want.

“I hope it is the start of his future. We have lost two years. They were not the two years we thought we would have.

“Just for him to be sitting there and choosing to eat will change our lives. It will absolutely revolutionise our lives.”

Any family trip takes a lot of preparation but if all your toddler’s food is prescribed and he is fed by a machine it is like moving an army.

Just Arthur’s feed and medical equipment weighs 37kg and will cost another £300 to transport.

Mrs Kingham added: “And you can’t amuse him with chocolate buttons on the plane ride.”

Finding insurance for Arthur is difficult because he is not so ill that cancer charities will cover him, but he is too ill for normal companies to insure him.

Mrs Kingham has little idea of what the treatment at the University Children’s Hospital in Graz, which has a 90 per cent success rate, will be.

She said: “We have had an email telling us where we need to go on the first day and that’s it.”

The programme combines reducing feeding through the tube with play-based behavioural therapy that encourages the child to eat normally.

But Mrs Kingham is bracing herself to hear things no parent wants to as the medical team analyse her and husband Ben’s parenting skills.

Arthur would have enjoyed his first trips abroad in the summer of 2009, but the family had to cancel their plans after Arthur was diagnosed with a tumour that swelled his leg to twice its size.

After spending almost a year in hospital being fed through a tube while undergoing gruelling chemotherapy Arthur lost the ability to eat normally. Not using his mouth muscles has also stunted Arthur’s speech.

Rachel is trying to get Arthur excited about the trip by giving him his own mini-luggage to pack his toys in.

She said: “He has no clue. He has been watching the Incredibles a lot and there is a plane in that and he has a toy plane.

“I say we are going to go on a plane like that.”

The family is pinning all its hopes on the treatment, which Mrs Kingham found after the NHS told her it had done all it could for Arthur.

She said: “It will be devastating if it doesn’t work. I have got my hopes up because the success rate is so high.”