An inspirational two-year-old will fly to America this week for potentially life-saving cancer treatment.
Corey Ashcroft is leaving Eccleston to spend six months in Philadelphia with his mum Joanna, dad Craig, and five-year-old brother Kian.
Since the brave tot was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in April, campaigners from across Chorley and Leyland have managed to raise £300,000 for the immunotherapy treatment.
The family is now gearing up for the seven-hour flight on Thursday, ahead of Corey’s first medical appointment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on Friday morning.
The therapy, which combines three types of drugs unlike the procedures in the UK, must start within 100 days of Corey’s stem cell treatment, and he’ll be up to day 88 when he boards the plane.
Joanna’s sister, Julia White, said: “The family are working on a really tight deadline because Corey only has 12 days left before he absolutely has to start the treatment in America, so it’s really important that everything goes well this week.
“He needs to have a week’s worth of scans when he arrives, so we’re hoping he stays well enough to fly.”
Relatives will give the Ashcrofts a big send-off from Manchester airport on Thursday morning.
“We really need to make sure he doesn’t come into contact with many other children,” Julia said. “If he catches any illnesses, it could compromise his whole treatment.
“Joanna is thinking of flying first class to make him more comfortable, and Corey will be wearing an oxygen mask.”
Corey will go through one week of treatment every three weeks, and the money obtained from fundraising feats is being used solely for the therapy.
Everything else, including the flights, is being paid for by his parents.
They’ll be staying with other families in the hospital’s parents house, and the Ashcrofts will not be able to come back to Eccleston for six months.
Julia said: “It’s too expensive for them to come home, and it’d also be very risky because if Corey became ill and wasn’t able to fly back to continue his treatment, that would be a disaster.”
She added that the pain from injections could last around eight hours a day, and said this will be managed with medication.
Julia wants to take four-year-old daughter Jenna to America shortly after Christmas to see her cousins, and they’ll also keep in touch using Skype.
“It won’t be much of a Christmas here without them,” she said. “It’s good that they’re finally going, but it’ll be very hard being apart.”