Nova Scotia

Friends fundraising for N.S. boy with rare cancer

Family and friends of a little Bedford boy with a rare form of cancer are hoping fundraising will help send him to Toronto for the necessary treatment.
Zac Connolly, 2, smiles at his mother as he prepares to go down a plastic slide. (CBC)

Family and friends of a little Bedford boy with a rare form of cancer are hoping fundraising will help send him to Toronto for the necessary treatment.

Zac Connolly has stage four neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer that develops from nerve tissue. It affects one in about 100,000 infants and children.

His mother, Angela Connolly, said her two-year-old son is currently battling three tumours.

"His first tumour started on his adrenal gland, on his left kidney. Then they moved — he's got one on his collar bone, he has one in his chest and then it infiltrated his bone marrow," Connolly told CBC News.

"Now he also has bone cancer so he's got some cancer in his skull on his arm and in his femur."

Connolly said the family first noticed changes in Zac in February when the outgoing toddler suddenly became withdrawn. One infection followed another.

"Eventually he stopped walking and when he stopped walking, that's when everybody started taking it seriously," she said.

In May, doctors revealed the diagnosis — stage four neuroblastoma.

The Connollys rented out their house, gave away their pets and moved in with family members. Angela Connolly no longer works full time because many of her days are spent at the hospital.

"We had our own place and we had pets, we just bought a new car, we had all these wonderful plans for the summer. Then, everything changed when they told us he has cancer," said Connolly.

"He has his bad days, obviously. But when he has his good days, he's bouncing around and he's up and he's smiling. He's a resilient little boy."

Zac now has to go to Toronto to have bone marrow removed for a future transplant. The family will travel back and forth at least twice over the next six months and has to come up with close to $20,000 to cover the costs.

Friends are hosting a fundraising auction for Zac on Saturday night at Angles Family Eatery and Pub on Sackville Drive. A benefit concert is also being planned for later this summer.

A Facebook page called Help Zac Connolly has also been created to help gather donations.

"We've had such an outpouring of support, it's heartwarming," said Connolly.

"It's really strengthened my view on humanity."

now