By Keith Perry

The jubilant parents of Liam Williams-Holloway said last night that they had no regrets about their four months on the run.

Yesterday, a Dunedin Family Court judge discharged a custody order that made cancer sufferer Liam a ward of the state.

HealthCare Otago had applied for the order, but now says it may be too late for conventional cancer treatment to work.

Liam's mother, Trena Williams, paying an emotional tribute to the thousands of wellwishers who supported the family, said on Holmes: "When we saw the agony chemotherapy was causing Liam, it wasn't a tough
decision to go on the run.

"We never knew what we were in for, how long it would take, and the implications of losing custody of our child.

"But making the decision to seek an alternative to chemotherapy - that wasn't hard at all because of chemotherapy's shortfalls."

Liam's father, Brendan Holloway, said: "You only have one chance against cancer and we decided to take it."

The couple, who went into hiding in January with Liam, aged 3, and his sister Molly, 5, can now return to their home near Wanaka.

They said they had been disgusted by the Government agencies' pursuit of them.

The alternative treatment from a machine called a quantum booster had been effective against the potentially fatal neuroblastoma growth on his jawbone, they said.

The family and their GP initially thought a lump on Liam's face was mumps. But a specialist diagnosed cancer.

The couple fled after Liam's oncologist said alternative treatment was unlikely to get official approval.

They said they had no idea how tough life would be as fugitives. "It's unnatural for children to be unable to yell out each other's names in a park or play outside the house," said Trena Williams.

"It hasn't been a game for them because they have been aware the whole time of what mum and dad chose to do."

Last night, the couple's friend Jude Battson said she was delighted the family were now free to come home. "It must be a huge relief for them that the hiding and secrecy is finally over and they can get back to a normal family life."