A five-year-old boy has been given nine months to live after his mum took him to the opticians thinking he just needed glasses – and a deadly brain tumour was found.
Little Daniel Downing went for his first eye test with mum Stephanie who thought he had a normal problem with his eyesight.
But the worried optician referred him to hospital for an MRI scan which revealed he had a type of brain cancer known as pontine glioma.
The tragic youngster was immediately rushed to a specialist unit to begin chemotherapy as experts predicted he had just nine months to live.
Friends and neighbours in Plymouth, Devon have rallied round and started a fund-raising campaign since the devastating diagnosis last week.
Daniel, who has an older brother Jack, eight, is now being treated in a specialist unit in Bristol, 125 miles from his home, where Stephanie, 36, is at his side.
Stephanie’s partner Ady Crayton said she was trying to be strong to support Daniel.
He said: “We have discussions with oncologists at some time today (Mon) and Steph is being very strong.
“She is very much of the attitude that there are things to get on with.”
Family friend Biffy Lynch, 41, who has started a JustGiving page to help the family, said: “Steph was concerned about his eyesight. She thought he needed glasses.
“She took him to the opticians and then they referred him to Derriford Hospital.
“He had an MRI scan last Thursday and that is when we found out.”
Biffy hopes to raise £6,000 so Daniel’s family can remain with him during his treatment.
She added: “They are currently on a waiting list for accommodation at the hospital but they have nowhere to stay at the moment.
“For all the stress that they are going through they shouldn’t have to worry about finances.
“They need to be in Bristol with Daniel for the next six weeks as he starts chemotherapy and as he continues his treatment.
“They are trying to make him better for the little time he has left.”
Biffy and Stephanie have been friends since 1995 when they served on board HMS Fearless.
She said: “We always used to say that we loved each other to the moon and back, but when Daniel was younger he couldn’t say it, so he would say ‘back a moon’.
“It became a saying between our families that meant we would always be there for each other. I am holding their hands from afar.”