A brave young Perth athlete has been left unable to eat, talk or walk as he battles a rare brain tumour only discovered when his mother was encouraged to trust her intuition.
Archie Ferris was thrust into a fight for his life in June after doctors identified a large mass and huge amount of fluid trapped on his brain.
The 11-year-old had suffered from intermittent vomiting for some time, with doctors initially blaming his struggles on gastro.
Watch the latest news and stream for free on 7plus >>
However his mum Fay Ferris told 7NEWS.com.au she was heartened when a pharmacist told her to back her instincts.
“I’m not a paranoid mum,” she said.
I’m a doctor. These are the cooking pans I would never use
Major hospital restricts access to wards amid potential outbreak
“Archie’s a genuinely lovely lad and I knew something was wrong.
“I don’t know if he’d be here (if we hadn’t acted).”
Her boy was taken to Joondalup Hospital on June 15, a decision that is likely to have saved his life.
“He had so much fluid on his brain that doctors said he should have died,” Ferris said.
“He hadn’t quite been himself but even on the way to the hospital he was singing.
“It wasn’t that sudden, that’s what’s scared us.”
Archie Ferris has been unable to speak or coordinate his movements following treatment on his brain cancer. Credit: Fay Ferris
Archie is currently in Perth Children’s Hospital where he has undergone seven surgeries over the past two months to get him well enough to return home to his family.
The intense treatment has cleared the fluid but doctors have not been able to remove all of the cancer, a rare Rosette-forming glioneuronal tumor.
The junior soccer player is fighting bravely, though he and his family are enduring a physical and emotional rollercoaster.
“Before one surgery he asked us: ‘Am I going to die?’ It’s heartbreaking,” Ferris said.
The procedures have come at a cost, with Archie developing posterior fossa syndrome, which is characterised by reduced speech and decreased coordination.
Archie is unable to eat, walk or talk independently and is now whispering sounds.
Doctors believed Archie Ferris, pictured with his siblings, had gastro before the discovery of a tumour. Credit: Fay Ferris
The health battle is a cruel new blow for the Ferris family, with Archie’s sister having previously battled leukaemia at just six months of age.
“As a family you think you have had your bad luck. Now we are facing it all over again,” Ferris, a mother of three, said.
Archie’s football team, Yanchep United, will host a charity fundraiser at St Andrew’s Park on Saturday, August 26, with more than 300 people due to attend as support continues to surge.
A crowdfunding effort was also launched to assist the family, with more than $17,000 raised so far.
‘These messages are spurring him on’
Well-wishes and donations have flooded in from the Socceroos, Perth Glory and hundreds of people from the community – many of whom the family has never met.
“He’s anxious and he’s scared but these messages are spurring him on,” Ferris said.
“It really has meant so much to him and us.
“I want to and need to thank these people who are keeping my little boy going but I really don’t know who many of them are.”
Archie is now awaiting news about the potential to join a two-year US trial of a new drug that will hopefully shrink his tumour to a size that it can be safely operated on.
Controversy over major exclusion at iconic Australian cricket venue
Merry-go-round closed after boy’s toe amputated on play equipment
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.