Robin, who lives with his family in Tallende (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), is just 16 years old, and has been fighting leukaemia since he was 11, reports local newspaper France 3.
Despite three operations, including two bone marrow transplants, Robin still needs more treatment to give him a chance at life, having exhausted all the options in Europe.
Now, doctors say his only hope is to have pioneering treatment in the United States, at a cost of USD $455,000 (€400,000), plus transport costs and expenses.
The treatment has been recommended as it has a 94% success rate - higher than that given to children in France and Europe. According to Robin’s father, doctors have been baffled and frustrated at Robin’s lack of progress or recovery, saying that the rate of leukaemia recovery in Europe is around 90%.
Robin has been placed in the 10% for whom the usual options do not work, hence the need to travel to the USA.
The family has now been raising money through a newly-created association, “Pour le prix d’une vie" (“For the price of a life”), and has received donations from all over the world, including Sweden, Australia and the United States. Donations are being received online through French crowdfunding platform Leetchi.
Robin is also supported by the family-run foundation “Tous Unis Pour Sauver Mateo” (“Everyone United To Save Mateo”), run by the parents of another young French boy, Mateo, who had the same illness and also raised money for a medical trip to the United States, but who tragically left it too late for the treatment to save him and passed away aged 17.
Now, his parents help other children in the same situation, and they are receiving cheques for Robin by post at "Association Le Petit Mateo, Mairie, 38380 St Pierre de Chartreuse".
“The support goes beyond our borders, and we have had donations from all over the world,” explained Robin’s father, Laurent Kieffer, speaking to France 3.
“Until now, myself and his mother were proud of having managed [financially] alone for Robin, and have always paid back all the help we have received. But here, we will never be able to give these people their money back.
“It’s huge what they are doing for us. I’ve got tears in my eyes. These people are so generous. Their messages of friendship and support are so strong. There are no words to thank them. Because of them and their donations, we are staying hopeful.”
Upon learning of the need to travel to the USA, Robin “went quiet, and took time to think”, his father said. “For him, it’s another treatment that might fail, and he has already said goodbye to his friends after the doctors said he was terminal. But after several days of thinking about it, he said ‘OK, let’s go’”.
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