THE determined family of a man with two brain tumours are trying to raise thousands of pounds to help keep him alive.
Reece Hawley, of Clayhill Road, Basildon, is on his third and final round of chemotherapy – meaning he will have to fund any further treatment himself.
Doctors have recommended he tries a drug called Avastin – which the NHS cut funding for last year.
A two-week course of the medication costs £4,000 and his family are now trying to raise enough money to buy the drug for him.
Mr Hawley, 21, a former Woodlands School pupil, was fit and healthy until he had a bleed on the brain in May 2013, which was caused by a tangle of blood vessels called arteriovenous malformation.
After undergoing six weeks of daily radiotherapy and chemotherapy, his family thought he was on the mend but doctors found two new tumours.
Devastated mum Karen Hawley, 50, said: “It’s very frustrating asamum, knowing there is something out there which could help, but there is just no money available.
“We want to try everything we can.
“There is no guarantee Avastin will work, but it’s definitely worth a go. Reece is so young – he's got his whole life ahead of him.
“He’s an inspiration, and is just grateful for the 21 years he has already had. Reece is doing well, but when he last went into hospital he had a few seizures, so he’s not very steady on his feet now."
His plight has touched the hearts of people across the borough, who have organised events including quiz nights and curry evenings to help the cause.
Bosses at American-style restaurant Grand Central, in Basildon, have agreed to donate £1 from every dessert sold to the fund.
Mrs Hawkey said the support has been “overwhelming”.
She added: “We didn’t imagine things would take off like they have done. We’ve had a really tough few weeks, so we’ve been in our own bubble, and all of this has been going on behind the scenes. We’ve got the power of social media to thank. I’ve had messages from complete strangers.
“The doctors don’t hold out much hope for Reece, but we’ve got to be strong. This gives us something to focus on and we’re going to try to get out to as many fundraising events as we can, rather than sit at home dwelling on things.”