'He is an inspiration and makes me so proud' - Irish boy (12) with brain tumour flown to Mexico for treatment
A 12-year-old boy has flown across the world with his family to receive what is hoped will be life-saving treatment for a rare inoperable brain tumour in Mexico.
Cameron Truesdale, from Waringstown in Co Down, was so ill during the long journey to Monterrey, where he arrived last Wednesday, that the airline had to arrange for an ambulance to meet him on landing.
Speaking from South America, his devoted dad Harold (31) said his son was doing well and had received his first round of chemotherapy treatment on Monday.
The entire family - sisters Chloe (9), Courtney (2) and Caitlin (7 months), mum Cassandra Finnegan (29), his stepdad and father - are in Mexico with Cameron, who will remain in the country for at least three months.
A pupil at Brownlow Integrated College in Craigavon, Cameron was diagnosed with a highly aggressive DIPG brain tumour in January, which doctors said was inoperable.
DIPG affects just 30 to 40 children a year in the UK and Cameron is currently the only child affected in Northern Ireland.
Due to the location and type of tumour, few treatment options are available on the NHS.
Determined to give their son a chance, the family learned of experimental clinical trials in Mexico and launched a fundraising campaign to raise the £300,000 (€340,250) needed to cover the costs of the 10-month course of treatment.
So far they have raised £65,000 (€73,000) and their local community, family and friends are continuing to fundraise while little Cameron fights for his life.
Dad Harold said: "Cameron received his first course of chemo on Monday with a follow up appointment on October 4 when they will plan out the rest of his treatment and alternative therapies going forward.
"Cameron has been amazing. Our flight from New York to Monterrey was terrible for him as he was vomiting and extremely tired from all our travelling.
"The airline was fantastic and had an ambulance waiting for him when we landed.
"He and I were taken off the plane and taken straight to hospital where he received care of the highest degree and was then fit enough to leave the next day.
"He was very nervous on the day of his first treatment but we did find time for some laughs and jokes before he was put to sleep.
"He received an MRI and chemo. After a few hours of sleeping in the intensive care unit, he came to life, eating two massive bowls of cereal and was laughing and joking once again.
"He was then transferred to his private room where his sisters, mum and stepdad were waiting."
While the family have put their lives on hold to give Cameron what could be his only chance of survival they remain positive.
Dad Harold said: "I've always tried to have a positive outlook on life, no matter what comes at me.
"I have the attitude that if I get pushed, I push back twice as hard and that's what I'm doing with this illness.
"I've said from day one this illness will not define me and it certainly won't define my son.
"My wife Cheryl has stayed at home to continue the fundraising with my family to ensure that Cameron can stay out here to receive the treatment he needs.
"It's very tough being parted from my wife, who is a constant source of strength and is doing all she can to help her stepson.
"At the moment we've raised in the region of about £65,000 (€73,000) which we are thankful for from everyone. Cameron has been an inspiration to so many and that makes me so very proud."
You can donate and help give little Cameron a chance of survival at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/cure4cam