'There was more chance of winning the lottery': Father and son both develop rare cancers at odds of 14m to one
Father and son diagnosed with different forms of aggressive cancer four years apart
Doctors say there is no link between the two conditions and the odds of both developing them were 14million to oneFamily are now backing new Stand up to Cancer campaign
23:44 GMT, 15 October 2012
Andrew Wantling who has beaten a rare form of cancer and son James who has battled unrelated leukaemia for two years
A family has been left devastated after both a father and son were diagnosed with different types of aggressive cancer at odds of 14 million to one.
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 family were left devastated for a second time when son James, 13, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
The teenager 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.
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.
Mother Miranda Wantling, 46, said James was inspired by his father in his own cancer battle.
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
'I don’t know the exact odds but we were told there was more chance of us winning the lottery.'
The Wantlings, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, spent Christmas and Boxing Day – James’ birthday – 2010 in Bristol Royal Hospital for Children as he received treatment.
The grammar-school student who 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.
The Wantling family are supporting Cancer Research UK and Channel 4¿s new campaign called Stand Up to Cancer
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.