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Former Sir William Robertson Academy pupil suffering from a rare form of cancer is showing positive response to treatment

A teenager with a rare cancer who was twice sent home to die is defying doctors after new scans showed his latest treatment is working.

A major community fundraiser was launched to pay for the treatment after Dan Evans, 18, a former student of Sir William Robertson Academy in Welbourn, was told he had exhausted all avenues available on the NHS.

But money was not needed when the NHS agreed to fund the combination of drugs – which had proved successful in trials – for Dan.

Dan Evans
Dan Evans

And his first scan since starting the treatment last month showed that Dan’s cancer had cleared from many areas in his body, including his liver, large portions of the lungs and his bones.

Dan’s father, Mark, said: “It is unbelievable. the last couple of months, going back to just after Christmas still wasn’t confirmed we were having this treatment.

“At that point, the doctors had written Dan off, the impression they were giving wasn’t very good and even until the point of four to five weeks ago we were going into palliative care, which doesn’t necessarily mean the end of life but the doctors were saying that they think we need to prepare for the worst.

“And coming to this is quite amazing, it has taken the doctors by surprise and our consultant said that they were very very shocked at how well he’s responded to treatment.”

Dan, a former student of Sir William Robertson Academy in Welbourn, was diagnosed with stage four Primary Mediastinal B Cell Lymphoma (PMBCL) in December 2022.

After several failed treatments, the family was told there were no more viable treatments available on the NHS and was told to take him home and make memories.

Instead, Dan found a combination of drugs that had proved successful in trial, but not approved on the NHS.

Dan Evans
Dan Evans

His family set up a GoFundMe page with a £100,000 target and raised nearly half of their target amount in a short time – before Dan was given the treatment for free on the NHS through compassionate use.

Dan had the first dose of treatment on January 26 and two rounds later, he went back to the hospital to check on the progress on February 14, which was a scary appointment for the family, the father, Mark Evans admitted.

The doctors have told the family that if the results continue to be positive, Dan should only need two more rounds of treatment before being cancer-free.

“I have been trying to reassure Dan, I have been telling him to prepare for a miracle because it is going to happen,”

“It has been very difficult for him to even hear words like that because he has been in a very dark place mentally.

“After I received the news I found it very difficult. I broke down.

“I was just crying for ages and couldn't stop it. The relief is very strange, to have such heightened feelings for such a long time of almost negativity.

“I was always hopeful but a part of your brain says it could go in a bad way, and to have that lifted from your shoulders in an instant is very strange, I had to keep reminding myself that this had happened.”

Dan Evans
Dan Evans

Dan will have two more rounds of treatment, with the third one having taken place yesterday (February 16), before doing another scan to check on the treatment’s progress.

“At the end of the day, at this current point in time, he’s still not cured, he still has a challenging time ahead but it is a lot easier than what it was just 24 hours ago,” said Mark.

“Had it not been for Dan researching and us as a family, this wouldn’t have happened because the NHS, if you remember, sent him home to die twice, that is the most important thing to take from this, the fact that it simply wouldn’t have happened.

“And it makes you wonder how many other families is this happening to, where people are told for their loved ones to go home.”

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