Emotional moment for Essex family as twin with rare cancer is finally able to join his brother at school

A five-year-old boy from Essex who overcame Covid-19 while being treated for a rare cancer has spent his first day at school alongside his twin brother.

Archie Wilks, of Saffron Walden in Essex, had just started pre-school when hefell ill two-and-a-half years ago.

In March last year, while undergoing treatment for the childhood cancerneuroblastoma, he tested positive for coronavirus.

His parents, Simon and Harriet, said he appeared to have overcome Covid-19 bythe following month, and he has now built up enough strength to be able to joinhis twin, Henry, in the reception class on Monday.

Mr Wilks said: "It was quite overwhelming seeing them both go to schooltogether, as it's been such a long time in waiting.

Archie Wilks is battling a rare childhood cancer but is now strong enough to go to school with his brother Credit: Family Facebook page

He said when Archie was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma he could not standup, but is now "running around blowing bubbles" and has been riding a bike.

"He's nowhere near his peers and his brother but he's getting much better,"he said. He said Archie has "really built up his strength" and is "relishing beingable to play with his friends".

Archie and his twin Henry warm up for school with some face pulling Credit: Family Facebook page

The family are trying to raise #230,000 for Archie to take part in a vaccinetrial in America which could reduce the chance of the cancer returning once heis in remission.

More than £215,000 has been donated to his JustGiving page and his father saidthey are "so close" to their target total.

Archie is due to have surgery to remove a tumour around his kidney in a fewweeks' time, followed by a month of radiotherapy and then six months ofimmunotherapy, Mr Wilks said.

"It will be straight after the immunotherapy we will be aiming to start thetrial treatment," he said.

Archie on one of his regular visits to hospital Credit: Family Facebook page

The rare cancer neuroblastoma, which affects around 100 children each year inthe UK and is most common in children under the age of five, develops fromspecialised nerve cells (neuroblasts) left behind from a baby's development inthe womb.

Two tumours were found around Archie's kidney and spine and the disease hadspread to other areas, including his bones and bone marrow.

Mr Wilks said 50% of children successfully treated for neuroblastoma willrelapse. Of those who relapse, 90% will not survive.

Mr Wilks said the vaccine trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre inNew York "will look to reduce the chance of that happening and allow us all toknow we have done everything possible to give Archie the best chance at life".

To donate, go to https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/archiesjourney