Treatment starts for boy in cancer court battle

By Abby Gillies

Sally Roberts, right, and her son Neon. Photo / Supplied
Sally Roberts, right, and her son Neon. Photo / Supplied

A seven-year-old with a brain tumour has started radiotherapy following a legal battle by his Kiwi Mum Sally Roberts to prevent the treatment in favour of alternative methods.

Neon Roberts was diagnosed with a malignant tumour in October, but his radiotherapy was put on hold while his mum fought the "gold standard treatment" through the courts.

Mrs Roberts, a 37-year-old former DJ from Auckland, feared the treatment could cause her son serious side effects.

Last month a High Court judge dismissed her case and sided with her estranged husband Ben Roberts, 34, after doctors said Neon would die within three months if he was denied radiotherapy.

The judge said he was worried that Mrs Roberts' "judgment has gone awry" over the seriousness of the threat to her son's life.

Neon began his first round of radiotherapy on Thursday after completing a course of play therapy and a practice run on Wednesday to prepare him.

Sources said he was "doing very well", The Mirror reported

"I have seen pictures of Neon having the play therapy. It is heartbreaking," Mrs Roberts is reported saying.

During the court dispute, Mrs Roberts prompted a nationwide search after going into hiding with Neon.

He has since been living with his father.

Neon's mother previously suggested she would appeal the High Court's decision, but no appeal was made by her lawyers before Neon's treatment began, the newspaper reported.

Mr Roberts reportedly refused to allow his former wife to visit their son in hospital at Christmas.

Delays in Neon's treatment have caused increasing concerns among surgeons about Neon's chances of survival.

He had the cancerous brain tumour, called medulloblastoma, first removed in October and a second operation to remove more cancerous cells from his brain last month, which Mrs Roberts opposed.

- APNZ

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