A SPORTS-loving schoolboy who is fighting a rare form of cancer is to fly to the United States for life-saving treatment.

Connor Wood, aged 14, from Deane, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma just before Christmas after being rushed into hospital when he fell ill at school.

His family have been told the teenager will have to go to America for three months for proton beam therapy (PBT).

Now family and friends are helping to raise money to support the family while they are in the US and to pay for Connor's seven-year-old sister Caitlin to join them.

Connor, who attends Ladybridge School in Deane, was a fit and healthy youngster who enjoyed sports until he started feeling poorly in October.

Mum Shauna said: "He said to me after playing sport that his heart problem was back and later that his lung was not working and that he was in pain.

"I took him to the doctor and we were told he had a viral infection.

"It was on December 5. I never remember dates but I remember this date. I got a phone call from his school saying Connor was unwell, and was struggling to breathe

"I was getting ready to go and collect him and the teacher phoned up again saying she was concerned and was going to call an ambulance. It was in that short space of time."

He was taken to hospital where he underwent a CT scan and it was discovered he had fluid on his lung. He was transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where the devastating discovery was made.

Miss Wood said: "I knew something was wrong because of the time he was in theatre. I had a feeling he had a tumour, it may be have been mother’s instinct.

"The surgeon rather than the nurse met me in the ward. He said he had never ever seen anything like this.

"He couldn’t say it was a tumour because there had to be a biopsy.

"I saw another a surgeon in the corridor and he gave me a look which said ‘I'm sorry’. He knew what we were about to go through.

"I was climbing the walls, but I had to keep my feelings hidden from Connor.

"It was on Monday, December 13 when I was told it was Ewing’s Sarcoma and the tumour had pressed on his lung, causing it to collapse.

"Connor cried when he found out, and asked if he was going to die. It is not something you ever want to hear from your child. I tried to make a joke, saying no, you will be home to cause trouble.

"I kept it all in while I was with Connor, but I will never know how I made it home driving down the motorway when I was able to let it out."

Miss Wood, who has two other children Ryan, aged 17, and Caitlin, added: "We are all devastated. When I phoned Ryan, I think he was in shock at first and then he kept firing all these questions at me and Caitlin doesn’t really understand. She just knows her brother is poorly.

"But Connor has been really brave and brilliant. He is really missing not going to school."

"He undergoes intensive chemotherapy every three weeks, at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital from Monday to Thursday. A week later he starts to feel quite ill between treatments. He goes into Manchester Royal Children’s Hospital for blood transfusions."

Following the chemotherapy, Connor will undergo surgery in April and is expected to travel to America in May. Now friends and family are rallying around the youngster helping to raise money to pay for their day-to-day living costs, while they are there.

Miss Wood, aged 35, said "We will either go to Florida or Oklahoma. With the proton beam therapy the prognosis is positive. Radiotherapy would affect all his other organs, whereas this treatment will just be where the tumour is."

She added: "The flights and accommodation will be paid for. I don’t even know how much money we will need when we are over there.

"Connor will undergo treatment for 12 months, so it is a long journey and then he will have lifetime monitoring.

"At the moment we are trying to understand what is going on, and I don’t even know who will be coming over. Ryan is at college and will be going to university this year.

"My mum, family and friends have been so supportive. They are always there when there is a last minute emergency and I need help.

"At the moment I am just on auto-pilot. I’m so tired and am still working as a care assistant, but I have been able to swap shifts and you just have to get on with it."

Headteacher of Ladybridge School, Martin Witter said: "Connor is a superstar.

"He has been with us since September, 2013. His illness took us all by surprise. However, he is still the life and soul of the party, with his cheeky smile, and even during treatment he still managed to get into school to take part in his catering lessons.

"The school is 100 per cent supporting the family to raise the necessary funds to enable Connor to make a full recovery."

Anyone who can support the family should email shaunawood81@gmail.com or visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/shauna-wood-1, where £115 has already been raised in less than 24 hours.

PBT uses a precision high-energy beam of particles to destroy cancer cells and has better targeting and fewer side effects than traditional radiotherapy.

Currently the NHS sends people needing PBT to the United States or Switzerland, but from 2018 The Christie will be treating patients in Manchester with the cutting edge technique. It will be the first UK centre to offer the treatment. University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will open a second centre in 2020.