“Brave warrior” Filip Kwansy has been living in London’s Great Ormond Street ’s Hospital since being diagnosed with a form of leukaemia last year.
The seven-year-old’s illness follows a diagnosis of neurofibromatosis, which causes tumours to grow in nerve cells, when he was just two.
Unfortunately, treatment to cure him, including a stem cell transplant and chemotherapy, has failed and the cancer has spread to his intestines.
Now, Filip, from Colchester, Essex, is receiving only palliative care to make him comfortable as his short life comes to an end.
Devastatingly, his mum Agnieszka died aged 33 in 2011 from cancer in Poland.
Filip issued a heart-breaking plea for the public to help fulfil his dying wish to be buried beside his beloved mother in her coffin.
And within just a few hours of his plea, more than enough money has been raised – with well-wishers raising a whopping £23,693.
His dad, Piotr Kwasny, 40, is said to be “overwhelmed” by the donations.
A family friend said today: “Piotr is overwhelmed, he can’t believe people care so much. He needs sometime for it to sink in.
“He wants to thank everyone. He is ecstatic and shocked.”
The family will now be meeting to discuss what to do.
Despite being barely able to speak, Filip sent an intensely personal thank you from his hospital bed to the people who are giving donations to help make his last wish to lie next to his mum for eternity possible.
The schoolboy said: “Thanks for helping make my wish come true.”
His dad Piotr knows his son’s time is limited and was desperate to raise the estimated £6,500 he needs to fund his son’s burial wish.
Piotr said: “He says that I’m his angel that is looking after him here and that his mum will look after him when he is in heaven.
“I don’t know how well he remembers his mother, as he was so young when she passed away, but he has visited her grave when he was well enough to speak to her.
“Filip wants to be buried with his mother, so we will need to organise that locally and re-bury them together.
“He wants her to look after him. I will only be able to take Filip back to Poland myself. His step-mother and siblings will have to stay in the UK, as I do not have the means to arrange for passports and transportation to Poland for them all.
“This is just a very stressful and distressing time for all of us. I did not imagine that I would have to bury my child… you should go before your child.”
As Piotr is himself ill with spina bifida, one kidney, diabetes and hypertension, he cannot work. He didn’t have the funds to pay for the burial himself.
And Filip is simply too ill to travel to Poland while he is still alive.
“The doctors do not know how long Filip has left,” Piotr said. “There is a bell in the Fox Ward outside Filip’s room.
“Ward patients ring the bell three times when their treatment is done and they are leaving. Filip, my son, will never get to ring that bell.”
Filip, who knows he is dying, has told his dad that he wants to be buried in the same coffin as his beloved mum, who died on November 12, 2011, in Wadowice, southern Poland.
She is buried in her home village of, the same location where she married Filip’s father in 2009 and where her boy hopes eventually to join her.
Piotr, who has now remarried and has a two-year-old daughter and two step-children, told how his late wife died shortly after developing sarcoma, a cancer of the connecting tissue.
“My wife had a large growth on her neck, I believe her lymph nodes, but we didn’t know what that was,” he said.
“She collapsed in the street one day and was taken to hospital, l where they did an emergency operation to remove it which lasted for six hours.
“She was diagnosed with sarcoma. The cancer spread throughout her body. She only weighed 20kg when we lost her.”
It was a devastating blow for Piotr when, just a year later, Filip, then two, was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1, a condition causing tumours to grow on the nerves.
Remembering how his son’s health deteriorated before the diagnosis, Piotr said: “Filip had spots on his face and body in Poland before we came to the UK and the doctors gave him cream for the rash.
“When we came to the UK the rash did not improve, so I took him to the doctor’s here.
“After many subsequent visits to the doctor they finally did lots of tests and discovered that he had neurofibromatosis type 1 in 2013.
“The doctors said that they needed to do more tests, but that Filip was okay for now.”
Filip recovered well, l but his health took a downward turn in September last year.
“He started having nose bleeds and his legs were hurting,” said his dad.
“I took him to the doctor here and they said that there’s nothing wrong with him and that perhaps he is tired.
“I insisted that they need to do some more tests because he was already diagnosed with type 1 and I knew there was something wrong.
“I think all parents know when there’s something wrong with their child.
“They ordered more blood tests and discovered that he was suffering from severe anaemia and juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia (JMML).”
Filip had chemotherapy in hospital in Cambridge in September and November last year, but it did not work. In November he had stronger chemotherapy, but that also failed.
Then, in January he received stem cell transplants, which again proved unsuccessful.
“Nothing has improved his condition,” Piotr explained.
But the final blow came earlier this month.
“We lost all hope at the beginning of March this year when the doctors said that there was nothing that they can do apart from mange his pain,” said his devastated dad.
“His liver had stopped working so he also receiving plasma every other day.
“His abdomen has collected a lot of fluid and is enlarged, which causes him lots of pain and pushes up on his lungs, so he has difficulty breathing.
“He cannot eat as he throws up. He is either drowsy or screaming in pain. It’s heart-breaking for me to watch.
“He knows that he is dying and that there’s nothing they can do for him. He knows that he doesn’t have much time left, we both do.”
Click here to donate to the appeal.