The friends and family of a much-loved school worker in Walton have issued an urgent appeal to help fund potentially life-saving treatment for him.

Chad Alexander, who works with special needs children at Walton Leigh Primary School, was officially diagnosed on Friday (October 18) after six-hour surgery.

Chad, who is a father to two young children aged four and one, was told by doctors he had contracted Renal Medullary Carcinoma (RMC), a rare type of kidney cancer that is most often found in younger people who carry the sickle cell trait.

Rachel Lavey, a teaching assistant at the school, contacted the Comet about Chad's situation and urged readers to help anyway they could.

"He had really long surgery a couple of weeks ago that included one of his kidneys and the tail end of his pancreas being removed. His situation is life-threatening.

"Because it's such a rare form of cancer — there have only been about 400 (recorded) cases in the world — we're trying to raise the money so he can get out there to receive treatment and also let other people know about the disease," she said.

Surrey Comet: Chad Alexander Chad Alexander

'There' is a specialist clinic in Houston, Texas (US) called the MD Anderson Cancer Centre where a former patient with RMC was treated and made a full recovery.

That's where the fundraiser comes in.

According to Ms Lavey, and Chad's own funding page, even to get an initial appointment at the clinic will cost around US$25,000 or £20,000.

And that's before any treatment, flights, accommodation and other expenses have been factored in.

"There are no survivors at all in the UK and only one in Houston, Texas, so they need to get him out there ASAP to have that initial appointment.

"When he's out there they can figure out the next steps in his treatment with a specialist but he has to be there, it can't be done here," Ms Lavey explained.

When asked why Chad's colleagues and friends were so eager to help him, her response was immediate.

"He goes out of his way to help our children at the school who have got severe special needs.

"He's such a lovely guy so it would be so nice to be able to give something back to him because he's given all his time and effort towards other people," Ms Lavey said.

Surrey Comet: Walton Leigh School (Google Maps)Walton Leigh School (Google Maps)

That much seems clear from Chad's own messages on the fundraising site.

He says that he hopes to raise awareness about the disease so that anyone the sickle cell trait can be aware of the warning signs.

"Any money you are able to donate will be so greatly appreciated but also please spread the word.

"If you know anyone who is a sickle cell trait carrier or has sickle cell disease please make them aware of Renal Medullary Carcinoma.

"My symptoms included blood in the urine, back/flank pain and weight loss," he said.

Perhaps most crucially of all for Chad, as Ms Lavey pointed out, are the extremely difficult circumstances an RMC diagnosis creates.

Ms Lavey said that research done by the campaign showed there was "only on average around 15 weeks survival from the date of the diagnosis without treatment".

As such, the fundraiser is an extremely urgent one.

So far, an astounding £37,197 has been raised by Chad's friends, family and supporters in the community.

But with further costs associated with treatment in the US almost inevitable, even more needs to be raised and quickly to give Chad the best chance at pulling through.

"Time is of the essence and they need to do everything they can so that he has a chance," Ms Lavey said.

To donate, go to Chad's Just Giving Page, link below: