THE parents of seriously-ill schoolboy, Oscar Saxelby-Lee, have said a heartfelt thank-you to the people of Worcestershire after an appeal to pay for potentially life-saving cancer treatment for him reached £500,000.

In a staggering show of community spirit, people from across this city and county raised the huge sum for five-year-old Oscar in just over three weeks.

They stepped up with a slew of fundraising events after hearing the youngster was in a race against time to fund specialist treatment overseas for a rare form of leukaemia.

Oscar's parents Olivia Saxelby and Jamie Lee announced the appeal has hit £500,000, saying they were thrilled.

The couple added: "We are absolutely gobsmacked with the amount of humbling support we have received since the word go!

"Over the last three weeks, we have watched the people of Worcestershire work together to raise this seemingly impossible amount of money.

"It has been heart-warming to see schools, businesses, individuals and even children giving all they can.

"We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts - Worcestershire, you are truly amazing!"

The couple had pleaded for help to raise the cash after being told that, despite a bone marrow transplant, Oscar's T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia had returned and no other treatment options were available on the NHS.

They were told his only hope was to try expensive CAR-T cell therapy, currently only available in Singapore, and a second bone marrow transplant. Doctors say Oscar has only a short window in which he will be strong enough to travel and undergo them.

The appeal quickly gathered momentum with hundreds donating money online, others taking on sponsored challenges and organising events, and a push by local schools and businesses to hold fundraising 'Oscar days'.

But, despite its success, Oscar's parents have urged people to carry on supporting them, saying they need help more than ever.

The couple, from St John's, Worcester said: "Please do not stop fundraising. If you are holding an event or attending one, please still go ahead.

"£500,000 is enough to cover the treatment and care Oscar would require if all went to plan.

"Now we need to make sure that we have contingency funds available should Oscar need more care or have a more complicated recovery whilst there.

"As we all know, this journey hasn’t gone smoothly so we must be prepared for any additional hurdles."

"As you will have seen from Oscar's Facebook page, Oscar has needed to receive more treatment and have further tests done whilst we have been fundraising to keep his leukaemia at bay.

"Now we have the difficult bit, the waiting.

"The initial funds are ready. Oscar's medical team now need to wait for the results of his further tests, which determine the next steps.

"When the best treatment plan for Oscar is confirmed by his medical team, having this funding will allow us to move very quickly.

"Thank you so much to the people of Worcestershire and beyond for making this possible and once again doing everything in their power to help save our boy."

Oscar's appeal was backed by the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust, which has been collecting money on the family's behalf.

Founder, Dr Jen Kelly, said: "On behalf of the trust, I would like to thank everyone that has supported Oscar's campaign in any way.

"In particular mentioning the amazing team at Pitmaston Primary School, both the staff and parents who have gone to the most extraordinary lengths to make Oscar's huge campaign a reality.

"The Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust is very proud to have been able to play a key role in Oscar's campaign and we will continue to help support Oscar and other children affected by childhood cancer wherever possible."