Joanna Lumley backs Milton Keynes parents' urgent plea to raise £154k for Archie's life-saving treatment

Archie's family only have a few weeks left to fundraise for specialist treatment.

Archie is a 4-and-a-half-year-old local boy who is obsessed with numbers, Hot Wheels and Paw Patrol and loves listening to Marvin Gaye and Bobby Hebb songs.

Archie, who has been described as a 'kind and caring little boy' was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer.

Now, the Milton Keynes family are in a 'race against time' to raise funds for specialist treatment for 4-year-old Archie.

Archie's family are fundraising £154,000 so that Archie can enroll onto the DFMO study in Charlotte once frontline treatment is completed, with hopes this trial will reduce the chances of his cancer returning at all. The DFMO treatment is not currently available on the NHS.

Joanna Lumley is backing the family's campaign. "It would mean the world to Archie and his family," the British actress and television presenter said in a video plea.

Not long after his first birthday, Archie began to have seizures 'out of the blue' which continued sporadically.

At worst, he was facing up to 4 seizures a week. After taking him to the GP, Archie's family were no clearer as to what was causing the seizures and Archie continued to be sick and run down.

Archie’s Mom recalls, “The frequency of having fever was more than 20 times during the 2 years. We were either in surgery, in children A&E or ward 4 or 5. We were in the ambulance most of the time after his seizures.”

In April 2022, a lump appeared on Archie's right temple. Initially his parents, Kevin Marcus and Kelly 'Kai', thought it was a bump from nursery as he was always very active.

Archie had blood tests at the hospital which showed his white blood cells and neutrophils count was very low so as a result he was admitted.

During this time, another lump had appeared on Archie's head and doctors told the family they were concerned.

Over the next couple of months, Archie was unable to talk, chew properly or stand. He developed issues with his hearing and vision.

He had dark circles underneath his eyes, with his right eye pushing out of its socket.

"In the last year, Archie has shown me, his mum and his siblings just how amazing he is. When we tell him he needs to go to the hospital he packs his paw patrol bag, brings his teddies (all of them) and just gets on with it. Sometimes it feels like he is supporting us, not the other way around." said Archie’s dad, Kevin Marcus.

In July 2022, his family were devastated to be told Archie had high-risk neuroblastoma stage 4, MYCN amplified, an aggressive childhood cancer with a 40 – 50% chance of long-term survival at diagnosis.

For children with high-risk neuroblastoma, like Archie, the survival rate is much lower than other childhood cancers.

Upon relapse, this rate reduces even further to around 5%.

Archie has spent over half of his young life fighting this cancer and undergoing gruelling treatments and with horrible side effects.

At the end of 2022, Archie had developed pulmonary hypertension which caused damage to his heart and lungs.

Since his diagnosis, Archie has had chemotherapy, surgery to remove the main tumour, stem cell harvest, high dose chemotherapy, radiotherapy at UCLH, Hickman lines inserted and is now undergoing the final stay of his frontline NHS treatment which is immunotherapy. 

As of July 2023, he no longer has pulmonary hypertension but the fight is still on. Archie is doing much better now but he has a very high rate of relapse with this rare childhood cancer which then results in a 5% chance of survival.

For children with high-risk neuroblastoma, like Archie, the survival rate is much lower than other childhood cancers.

Upon relapse, this rate reduces even further to around 5%.

You can find out more about Archie or donate here.