Zac to return to US for latest cancer check-up

By Dominic Robertson | Telford | Broseley | Published:

The flights for Zac Oliver's next trip to the United states have been booked and the youngster is preparing for one of his most important check-ups yet.

Zac will return to the US for the next stage of tests which will check if his treatment is still working

Zac and his mother, Hannah Oliver-Willets, will be returning to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where the the five-year-old will undergo tests to see if his groundbreaking treatment is still working.

It is the latest stage in his fight against Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, which saw him undergo revolutionary CAR-T therapy earlier this year.

The initial treatment proved a success, ridding the Broseley youngster's body of any cancer.

The next stage will check if the modified cells, which were taken from his body and altered to fight the disease, are still working.

'Stressed but hopeful'

In an update on the Facebook page set up to keep people aware of Zac's progress Hannah said that it would be one of his most important tests yet.

She said: "Our flights have been booked and Zac has been scheduled for theatre for in a couple of weeks.

"He will have a bone marrow biopsy (trephine), 3 X bone marrow aspirations and bloods taken. All this will be done under general anaesthetic and will be to check for any evidence of cancer.


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"This is one of the most important tests to date. The majority of children who relapse after CAR-T therapy will have relapsed at either the three or six month mark. We are at the three month mark.

"This is such a stressful time for everyone involved. We are all so hopeful yet very much aware of how aggressive Zac's cancer is.


"Zac's chance of success was doubled by doing CAR-T therapy to around a 60 per cent chance of remaining in remission. This gives us a 40 per cent chance of relapse. Although this is a lot better, it's still pretty scary."


Due to a recent bug Zac has also been advised not to attend school until he returns from the US.

He had only returned in recent weeks for the first time.

Hannah said: "We were advised that due to Zac's recent sickness and poor immune system that Zac should not go to school until we come back from America and then we can reassess the situation.

"So we are back to hiding out at home, doing lots of puzzles, play doh, reading etc."

Zac's plight first captured the hearts of Shropshire then the country as people rallied together to raise £500,000 for him to undergo the revolutionary treatment in America, which was not available on the NHS.

People across Shropshire held events, collected sponsorship, donated pocket money, and took part in a Wear Red for Zac day to push towards the total.

The fund also received a donation from X Factor creator Simon Cowell before a mystery donor pledged £100,000 to reach the target.

Last month his family were able to reveal he was cancer free after the CAR-T therapy, meaning a successful first stage in the battle.

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