A family has been left devastated after beating odds of 14 million to one to have both father and son — battling different types of aggressive cancer.
Brave Andrew Wantling, 48, was diagnosed with a lymphoblastic lymphoma – a rare form of the disease in adults – nine years ago.
Accountant Andrew underwent 18 months of gruelling treatment, including a stem-cell transplant and made a full recovery.
But just four years later, the Wantling family were left devastated for a second time when son James, 13, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Grammar school student James is still battling the disease two years later, taking medication every day and undergoing monthly chemotherapy.
The family has been told there is no link between the two cancers.
They have been told that the odds of both Andrew and James developing different cancers are higher than winning the lottery – which are 14 million to one.
Mum Miranda Wantling, 46, said watching his father go through treatment had given James the strength to battle his own cancer years later.
She said: “The treatment has been very tough at times, but James has managed to keep up with school work and stay in touch with friends.
“We know only too well how cancer affects a family.
“We were told there is no link between the two cancers my husband and son have been treated for and the chances of this happening are extremely low.
“I don’t know the exact odds but we were told there was more chance of us winning the lottery.”
The Wantling family, from Cheltenham, Glos., spent Christmas and Boxing Day – James’ birthday – 2010 in Bristol Royal Hospital for Children as he received treatment.
James, who attends prestigious Pate’s Grammar School, loves music and plays the violin, faces another two years of treatment.
It is hoped that he will be able to start playing his beloved rugby and other contact sports after the treatment finishes.
Mrs Wantling, a primary school teacher, added: “It was very hard to go there for the second time, but it did mean that we knew what to expect in terms of treatment.
“The fact that Andrew has been through a very similar treatment has given James and the rest of the family a lot of strength.
“Although the treatment is continuing, James still tries to get to school every day and lead a full life.”
The family, including the couple’s other children, Amelia, 21, Eleanor, 19, and Philip, 16, received support from a number of charities, including CLIC Sargent.
Andrew has embarked on a number of fundraising campaigns to thank them for their help, including running the London Marathon, the Bristol half marathon and triathlons.
He has already donated more than #3,000 to charity.
The family are now supporting Cancer Research UK and Channel 4’s new campaign called Stand Up to Cancer.
Wristbands for the campaign are on sale in Tesco, TKMaxx and the Cancer Research UK shop.