The changing face of Corey

Corey Ashcroft, playing in the garden at home in Eccleston
Corey Ashcroft, playing in the garden at home in Eccleston

Smiling Corey Ashcroft is making up for lost time after a mammoth 12-month battle for survival.

Corey, three, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer, last year and has spent almost five months in America fighting for his life.

He is now in remission and has been allowed home to continue his amazing recovery. Mum Joanna, 33, said: “He is enjoying being outside and playing football and riding his bike and scooter.

“It is so lovely to see him being a child again after everything he has been through.”

Corey touched the hearts of thousands when he was diagnosed with the condition 12 months ago.

His parents Joanna and Craig, researched the disease and discovered that treatment in the USA was far more advanced and had a lower chance of relapse.

The couple launched a campaign for the £250,000 needed to fund the treatment.

Corey’s plight moved the community and Evening Post readers so much, the goal was reached in a matter of months.

To date, more than £300,000 has been raised for him.

Mum Joanna, 33, today told of her joy at being back home and described why she believes her family’s decision to uproot to America was the right one.

Joanna, who also has son Kian, five, said: “It feels really strange but wonderful to be back home.

“It is great to back in our own home with all our friends and family around us, but it feels strange not to be making constant trips to hospital.

“We spent Christmas, New Year and Corey’s third birthday away from home.

“It was a difficult decision to uproot the family to America.

“But we believe it was the right decision and feel we have given Corey the best possible chance of survival by having the most advanced treatment.

“At least we know we have done everything in our power for Corey.”

Corey and his family went to America in December for immunotherapy treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

They were initially meant to stay out there for six months, but doctors allowed them to return home after four-and-a-half months and Corey is taking his final chemotherapy tablets at home.

Joanna, of Eccleston, near Chorley, admitted it is difficult to return to life without constant medical supervision and that now that Corey has almost completed his treatment, fear has started lurking in her mind.

She said: “Even though we know doctors have done all they can for Corey and he has responded so well to treatment and is now in remission, there is still the constant fear that the cancer might return.

“Now that Corey isn’t having daily hospital treatment, it is a lot better for him, but I feel more anxious as when he was receiving treatment, you felt that it was keeping the cancer at bay.

“But now life feels nerve-wracking and you worry about it returning.

“We just have to take one day at a time and hope Corey carries on fighting.”

During their time in America, Corey and his family met a lot of families and made some great friends.

Joanna said: “The families we met and the friends we made helped make it an enjoyable stay. However, it can be worrying when you are in an environment surrounded by children who have cancer.

“Each day, some families were getting good news, but others were getting bad news. You just have to keep strong.

“We want to say a huge thankyou to everyone who donated and raised money for Corey. Without them, he would never have been able to get this treatment.

“Words cannot express our gratitude for the kindness everyone has shown for our little boy.”