YOUNG cancer battler Sam Shaw has cleared a major hurdle in his bid to get to America for life-saving treatment, after pulling through a gruelling course of chemotherapy.

Doctors have given Sam the go-ahead to move on to his next stage of treatment, in what his mum said was the ‘best news since this terrible nightmare began’.

And the Hoddlesden family received a further boost this week, as more than £40,000 was cashed into their appeal fund, helping them smash through the halfway barrier in their fundraising efforts.

That brought the total to £140,000, but they are still desperate to hit the £250,0000 mark, which will be enough to send Sam to the US for the final treatment stages.

Mum Christine, who is PA to the headteacher at Chorley’s Albany High School, said: “The chemo was making him so poorly with all the side-effects, so this is a massive hurdle that he’s got over.

“It’s been heartbreaking to watch him suffer through it, but he’s been so resilient.

“He’s been amazing.

“This was probably the hardest bit for him to get through.

“But it’s just the first hurdle and every stage of treatment will have its own risks and problems.”

Sam, four, was diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma in January, an aggressive cancer that affects the nerve cells.

His family, of Glencoe Avenue, were later told the cancer had spread from the main tumour in his adrenal gland, to his bones and bone marrow, though it has been successfully shrunk by the chemotherapy.

The Darwen Barnabas House nursery pupil is now preparing for five days of stem cell injections, before undergoing surgery to remove the tumour, and then radiotherapy.

As long as they raise enough cash, the family then plan to take him to America in Sept-ember for specialist differentiation and immunotherapy, along with supportive drugs, which are expected to increase his survival chances from 45 to 66per cent.

Christine said: “It’s all going to be new now, so we just hope Sam will cope with it.

“But he’s gradually getting stronger and fighting this disease.

“Last week the total was £97,000, but it’s really taken off and is up at around £140,000 now. There have been lots of events which seem to have paid in the donations at the same time.

“We’ve just been overwhelmed by it all.”