A baby boy is about to start the fight of his life as he battles a rare cancer which has affected only 88 other people in the world.
Little Roman Hansen, from West Harton, South Shields, begins nine-months of chemotherapy tomorrow, in a bid to rid his tiny body of pleuropulmonary blastoma.
The rare type of cancer, which affects the lungs, was discovered after the 15-week-old had to undergo an operation to remove 15% of one of his lungs after a number of burst cysts had caused it to collapse.
It was after surgery when part of the lung was tested in a bid to try and find out what was wrong that the cancer was found. Roman, who is due to have a bone scan today at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Hospital is currently being looked after by a team of medics supported, due to the rarity of the cancer, by doctors in Minnesota, America.
His heartbroken parents Amanda, 31 and Stephen, 34, who also have children Brooklyn, 11, Brandon, nine, Bailey, six and Mia, 20-months, are staying by his bedside as their little boy nicknamed “smileypants” by nurses due to his constant beaming smile fights for his life.
Amanda, 31, said: “It’s breaking both our hearts. We have four other kids and we can’t be with them as we want to be here for Roman - the pain is just imaginable.
It’s just not fair - he’s 15 -weeks old. We shouldn’t be here, we should be out in South Shields, spending time at the beach as a family.Amadna Hansen
“My daughter Mia, is 20-months old, and we are so close with her being the only girl and she doesn’t understand what is going on.
“She is quite protective of her little brother, she doesn’t know why she comes and then has to go and leave her ‘Romi’ and why we are not at home.
“You just feel like you are being ripped in so many different ways while outside life still goes on, the mortgage still needs to be paid, the bills still need to be paid.
“We really just don’t know how we feel.”
Roman was transferred to Newcastle’s RVI after being taken to South Tyneside District Hospital when his mam Amanda found him struggling the breathe in the early hours of May 22.
She had been woken from her sleep at around 2.30am, with a feeling something wasn’t right with her son, to find him gasping for breath.
At first, doctors thought he had bronchiolitis but as his temperature began to soar and he started to fit, he was taken to the resuscitation room where a transport team were called.
He received treatment for a collapsed lung before being transported to the RVI where he was put into intensive care.
Throughout his course of chemotherapy, Roman will have to remain in hospital, however, his family hope once he becomes stronger he will be able to have a few days at home in the future with his family.
Amanda added: “I keep thinking if I hadn’t woke up and went into the room when I did, he wouldn’t be here.
“I always knew something wasn’t right with him, ever since he was born. I took him to the doctors and spoke to health visitors, I just knew something wasn’t right.
“When people talk about their heart aching I didn’t really know what it meant until now. But my heart is breaking, it’s breaking to know he is going to spend his first Christmas in hospital. It’s breaking knowing how ill he is. The only small mercy in all of this is that he doesn’t know what’s going on and he won’t remember this.
“He is such a happy baby, He’s always smiling and the girls have called him ‘smiley pants’ he’s a total little flirt. He just lies there smiling.
“It’s just not fair - he’s 15 -weeks old. We shouldn’t be here, we should be out in South Shields, spending time at the beach as a family.
“As parents, we are never away from our kids. This is crippling both of us.”
Stephen, who works for CharityAid based in Washington, has had to temporarily give up his job in order to support his wife and family.
The couple are also receiving support from their parents Jean and Brian Hansen and Karen and David Burch.
Amanda said: “There are no words I can say to express how grateful we are and how thankful we both are to our parents for their support. And to our family and friends - they have been amazing.
“We would be lost without them.”
They also praised the support of the medical staff who are caring for Roman during his stay in hospital.
The family are also receiving support from their son Brooklyn’s football team, Harton and Westoe Terriers, with managers ensuring he doesn’t miss a game.
A justgiving page has been set up to support the family as Roman battles cancer to help with hospital car parking charges and bills.
Anyone who would like to donate visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/baby-roman