All for Rio

On 17th April last year, we found out that our beautiful little boy, Rio has cancer. Rio initially complained of tummy ache & we felt a lump on the side of his stomach. We took him to our GP the same day who suggested it was constipation. Only a few days later he started violently vomiting green bile & we took him to A&E knowing something wasn’t right…here they suggested it was an obstruction in his bowel that would require surgery. We were transferred from Blackburn A&E in an ambulance to Royal Manchester children’s hospital. Only one parent was allowed to go. We had no idea how our life was about to come crashing down around us. A paediatric surgeon told me ‘we are almost certain it is a nasty lump’ I said ‘do you mean cancer?’ And he said ‘yes’. I had to tell Tom this over the phone. He came to Manchester immediately. Our family’s world as we knew it, completely destroyed in that one, short, heartbreaking conversation. 

We quickly found ourselves admitted on the oncology ward at RMCH. Rio had x rays, blood tests, an ultrasound scan, CT scan & MRI scan under sedation. Our consultant told us he had stage four cancer; a large tumour on his right kidney & that it had spread to his lungs - a tumour on each of his lungs. A few days later he went under general anaesthetic to have a Hickman line fitted & biopsy of the tumour before we were given an official diagnosis. He is diagnosed with a rare type of kidney cancer; Wilms tumour. Only around 80 children are diagnosed with it in the UK each year.  

Since then, he has undergone months of intense chemotherapy at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, including 6 different cytotoxic drugs (Vincristine, Dactinomyocin, Doxorubicin, Etoposide, Carboplatin & Cyclophosphamide). Ten consecutive days of Radiotherapy to his lungs (under daily general anaesthetic). Plus a four hour surgery to remove his right kidney & primary tumour. The treatment he has had is likely to make him infertile.

After Rio’s surgery last June, we received some shattering news. The pathologist found Rio’s cancer is ‘High Risk’ and Anaplastic (only 5-8% of all Wilms tumours fall into this category) This changed everything. It means that Rio’s cancer is made up of unusual & rapidly dividing cells. They are resistant to chemo. It makes it much harder to cure & much more likely to come back if he is cancer free after his initial course of treatment.

Rio’s cancer also displayed large components of ‘Blastema’ - a second rare & unfavourable characteristic which is distinguished by its rapid & aggressive evolution; these cells are considered to be the most malignant cells. Making it the most rare & aggressive type of Wilms there is. It was the worst-case scenario & not the news we were praying for or expecting. 

 As we approach the end of Rio’s treatment, we are appealing for your help. A few weeks after Rio’s last dose of chemo we will have CT & MRI scans to see if his treatment has worked. We pray & hope for Rio to be cancer free. 

If Rio’s scans show no evidence of disease there’s no question how overjoyed our family will be….IT WILL NOT HOWEVER MEAN THIS IS OVER. The ‘High risk’ and Anaplastic features of Rio’s diagnosis make his chance of relapse high. Should he relapse, our consultant has advised that we will not have many (if any) options left for treatment & Rio’s chance of survival will plummet to around 10%. This is the whole reason behind our ‘All for Rio’ fundraising campaign! 

This is one brutal & relentless disease we are up against. We live everyday not knowing if Rio will survive this or not. 

We could find ourselves in a desperate position where we need to access a clinical trial overseas quickly to try & save Rio’s life. We will not risk being unprepared for this! 

Post treatment, Rio will have x-rays & Ultrasounds every 3 months to check for cancer. We will need to be vigilant in noticing symptoms or changes in Rio’s body & general health so that we can act fast if necessary. 

We are pushing fundraising efforts to the limit in 2023. We want raise as much as possible (in case his treatment hasn’t worked or he relapses quickly) We are begging for your help…there’s only so much time as a family we can dedicate to planning fundraising. 

Please consider if there is something you could do to help us- a donation, fundraising challenge, idea or event? People have done some remarkable things to help us so far, but more is needed. We want to raise A MINIMUM of £250,000 by May.

Tom & I are SO touched by everyones support & generosity. Totally & utterly blown away. Family, friends & strangers have shown us so much kindness ❤️ We are enormously grateful. 

We are SO proud of Rio & his little brother; Rudy who is a massive part of this too. They are both remarkable. Rio is the most courageous & inspirational little boy.
He has been through far too much already & a lot more to come but still he continues to smile & sing his way fiercely through this horrific disease. 

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. 

Chloe & Tom Spurr x

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Fundraising team (4)

Dan Jordan
Thomas Spurr
Chloe Spurr
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