A terminally ill seven-year-old has issued a heart-breaking plea for the British public to help fulfil his dying wish – to bury him beside his beloved mummy, in her coffin, so she can look after him in heaven.
“Brave warrior” Filip Kwansy, of Colchester, has been living in London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, since being diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia (JMML) - an accumulation of abnormal blood cells in the bone marrow - in September last year.
It follows a diagnosis of neurofibromatosis type 1 when he was two, from which he initially recovered.
Unfortunately, treatment to cure the adorable boy of his most recent illness, including a stem cell transplant and chemotherapy, has failed and the cancer has now spread to his intestines.
Now Filip, a pupil at Friar Grove Primary School in Colchester is receiving only palliative care, to make him comfortable, as his short life comes to an end.
And, yesterday, despite being barely able to speak, he sent an intensely personal thank you from his bed on the hospital’s Fox Ward, to the people who are giving donations to help make his last wish possible, saying: “"Thanks for helping make my wish come true.”
His dad, Piotr Kwasny, 40, of Colchester, knows his son’s time is limited and is now desperate to raise the estimated £6,500 he needs, to fund his son’s burial wish – to lie next to his mum for eternity.
“He says that I'm his angel that is looking after him here and that his mum will look after him when he is in heaven,” Piotr explained from his son’s hospital bed. “I don't know how well he remembers his mother, as he was so young when she passed away, but he has visited her grave when he was well enough to speak to her.
“Filip wants to be buried with his mother, so we will need to organise that locally and re-bury them together. He wants her to look after him. I will only be able to take Filip back to Poland myself. His step-mother and siblings will have to stay in the UK, as I do not have the means to arrange for passports and transportation to Poland for them all. This is just a very stressful and distressing time for all of us. I did not imagine that I would have to bury my child...you shouldn't go before your child.”
As Piotr is himself ill with spina bifida (a gap in his spine), one kidney, diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure), he cannot work and has not got the funds to pay for it himself.
And Filip is simply too ill to travel to Poland while he is still alive.
“The doctors do not know how long Filip has left,” Piotr said. “There is a bell in the Fox Ward outside Filip's room.
“Ward patients ring the bell three times when their treatment is done and they are leaving. Filip, my son, will never get to ring that bell.”
Filip, who knows he is dying, has told his dad that he wants to be buried in the same coffin as his beloved mum, Agnieszka, who died aged 33 on November 12, in 2011, in Wadowice, southern Poland, from cancer.
She is buried in her home village of Wadowice, Poland, the same location where she married Filip’s father in 2009, and where her boy hopes eventually to join her.
Piotr, who has now remarried and has a two-year-old daughter and two step-children, told how his late wife died shortly after developing sarcoma, a cancer of the connecting tissue.
“My wife had a large growth on her neck, I believe her lymph nodes, but we didn't know what that was,” he explained.
“She collapsed in the street one day and was taken to hospital, l where they did an emergency operation to remove it which lasted for six hours.
“She was diagnosed with sarcoma. The cancer spread throughout her body. She only weighed 20kg when we lost her.”
It was a devastating blow for Piotr when, just a year later, Filip, then two, was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1, a condition causing tumours to grow on the nerves.
Remembering how his son’s health deteriorated before the diagnosis, Piotr said: “Filip had spots on his face and body in Poland before we came to the UK and the doctors gave him cream for the rash.
“When we came to the UK the rash did not improve, so I took him to the doctor’s here.
“After many subsequent visits to the doctor they finally did lots of tests and discovered that he had neurofibromatosis type 1 in 2013.
“The doctors said that they needed to do more tests, but that Filip was okay for now.”
Filip recovered well, l but his health took a downward turn in September last year.
“He started having nose bleeds and his legs were hurting,” said his dad. “I took him to the doctor here and they said that there's nothing wrong with him and that perhaps he is tired. I insisted that they need to do some more tests, because he was already diagnosed with type 1 and I knew there was something wrong. I think all parents know when there's something wrong with their child. They ordered more blood tests and discovered that he was suffering from severe anaemia and juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia (JMML).”
Filip had chemotherapy in hospital in Cambridge in September and November last year, but it did not work.
In November he had stronger chemotherapy, but that also failed.
Then, in January he received stem cell transplants, which again proved unsuccessful.
“Nothing has improved his condition,” Piotr explained.
But the final blow came earlier this month.
“We lost all hope at the beginning of March this year when the doctors said that there was nothing that they can do apart from mange his pain,” said his devastated dad. “His liver had stopped working so he also receiving plasma every other day.
“His abdomen has collected a lot of fluid and is enlarge, which causes him lots of pain and pushes up on his lungs, so he has difficulty breathing. He cannot eat as he throws up. He is either drowsy or screaming in pain. It's heart-breaking for me to watch. He knows that he is dying and that there's nothing they can do for him. He knows that he doesn't have much time left, we both do.”
If you can donate visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/filips-last-wish