Ashya King with his mother while being treated in Prague last year
Ashya King with his mother while being treated in Prague last year

The parents of five-year-old Ashya King have told reporters that their son is now cancer-free, after receiving proton therapy for a brain tumor in Prague.

Readers may recall the family made headlines last August after an international manhunt commenced when the boy’s parents took him from a U.K. hospital, against doctor’s orders, to seek alternative treatment.

Both of his parents were arrested in Spain and detained before child cruelty charges against them were dropped. After authorities reviewed the details of the case, the boy was eventually allowed to have the life-saving treatment that his parents so desperately sought.

It was originally feared that being Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Kings had taken the boy to avoid blood-related treatment. That however turned out to be a rumor. Ashya’s father, Brett King, even went on record saying “If a child needs treatment they should give them the treatment. It’s not for the parents to say. We just want the best for Ashya.”

This much-respected statement by Mr. King stands in stark contrast to the stance taken by many Jehovah’s Witnesses. Too many Witnesses and children of Witnesses have died as a result of adherence to Watchtower’s teachings on blood transfusions and other blood-related treatments. Oftentimes such ones are even celebrated and given a martyr-like status among members of the organization, as we have recently seen in one especially tragic story.

Though the measures taken by Ashya King’s family were definitely risky, it turns out they may well have saved his life. Little Ashya is said to be doing well, although oncologist Dr. Nick Plowman has gone on record with the BBC saying: “I do not agree that he could not have been in a similar situation had he had orthodox X-ray radiotherapy.” All controversy aside, everyone at JWsurvey wishes Ashya and his family all the best for a continued recovery.










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27 thoughts on “Ashya King reported as cancer-free by parents

  • March 24, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    I’m happy to say I got it totally wrong on this story. I can still recall the news breaking about JW parents taking their child out of hospital against doctors’ orders, and it just had “blood transfusion controversy” written all over it.

    Once things were a little clearer, novelist Ian McEwan was asked about this while he was promoting his book “The Children Act” (involving JWs and blood) and he replied: “I’m glad I kept my mouth shut.”

    I wish I’D kept my mouth shut, although it taught me a valuable lesson – to try not to second-guess any story. Yes, what the parents did was reckless, yes it was a gamble, but if the gamble paid off they deserve nothing but the warmest congratulations.

    A little boy is still alive because two loving parents moved mountains to give him whatever he needed. I’m glad I was wrong.

    • March 24, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      What they did as not wreckless. The uk nhs decides what health care treatments are acceptable given the patients condition. Proton therapy is expensive but is known to be effective. It is used Widely at centers in the United states but does cost more. Cedars, you don’t quite understand how healthcare overseen by a government can have even more pitfalls than a capitalistic system for such. We could all believe Michael moores film sicko that cuba had amazing health care. Lol!

  • March 24, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    My first thought also was that the parents were taking the little boy out of the hospital so the hospital wouldn’t force a blood transfusion. I am so glad he is going to be okay and hopefully the cancer doesn’t return.

  • March 24, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    I am pleased by the humility shown by Cedars. You wouldn’t see that humility by some elders.

    • March 27, 2015 at 11:21 am

      Isn’t that the truth!

  • March 24, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Good follow up story. Happy for Ashya and his parents.

  • March 24, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    John, I think we all came to the same conclusion, when
    the story broke, I was about to comment regarding the
    blood scenario when things took a different turn just in
    time to save my face.

    If we had hindsight we’d be perfect and never make a
    mistake. The best remembered lessons are those we learn
    from our mistakes.

    we’re all glad the little boys doing well. As regards the Dad’s
    statement. “If the child needs treatment, they should give him
    the treatment. It’s not up to the parents to say.”

    For JWs, that statement is not always true. In the case of one
    particular form of treatment, it is up to the parents, and they’ve
    got to say NO, or be subjected to cruel sanctions.

    Due to the high media coverage given to the King family. I think
    we’ll hear nothing of any sanctions from the two faced wt, org.
    now or at any future time.

  • March 25, 2015 at 3:43 am

    Lloyd, thank you for your response. I think many of us jumped to some wrong conclusions. We are all delighted in the good news of Ashya’s recovery and send his parents our sincere best wishes.

  • March 25, 2015 at 3:49 am

    I’m afraid that I do still think the parents’ behaviour was entirely reckless (although brought on by extreme stress, so in some ways understandable). There was no evidence to suggest that Ashya’s chances for survival were any better with the alternative treatment, and any delay in treatment was only ever likely to endanger the poor boy. That is the reason the NHS relented in the end and agreed to fund the alternative – because they only had the boy’s best interests in mind and wanted to get treatment for Ashya as quickly as possible without any more delaying from the parents. I’m still not convinced that the parents’ “I don’t trust you” attitude was not a byproduct of their JW indoctrination, but I accept that at least, in this case, they directed that towards helping their son and not towards doing what the Watchtower wanted of them.

    • March 25, 2015 at 5:21 am

      The treatment that the parents researched was radiation that pin-pointed the tumor but the radiation that the hospital he was in wouldn’t have pin-pointed the tumor and would have caused collateral damage and would have worse side affects. Not all hospitals have that kind of cancer treatment. That is how I remembered the situation but I might be wrong.

  • March 25, 2015 at 4:34 am

    This is definitely something I wouldn’t have seen coming (as an ex-JW). You shouldn’t feel bad about getting it completely wrong the first time the story was covered, but it does highlight how important it is to not speculate and to verify (what could be) unsubstantiated rumors.

    I wonder if they’ve been put on the fast-track for disfellowshipping because of their statement, or at least given a stern talking to by some form of “judicial committee”?

  • March 25, 2015 at 5:45 am

    to much publicity about this case as regards the husbands stand on saying he would give his child a blood transfusion, I get the feeling if he was DF for this it would bring to much bad publicity for the GB, their may concern is image.

  • March 25, 2015 at 6:27 am


    Your opening comment speaks volumes to your sincerity and sense of honour. How different you are to the WTBTS!

    I actually telephoned the police at the time, and offered the possibility that this was blood related. I do not regret what I did. I never said that it definitely was blood related, just that it was a reasonable line of inquiry. I would do the same again. The life of a child is worth me being totally wrong every time.

    I am so pleased that little Ashya has made a full recovery. I wish him and all of the King family all the best.

    Thank you, Lloyd, for all that you do. Your initial article was not borne of malice, but genuine concern for a very sick little boy.

    Peace be with you, Excelsior!

  • March 25, 2015 at 6:37 am

    John first let me say I really appreciate your humbleness. Given many in our society as a whole don’t really genuinely apologize when they made a mistake, I think you are sincere in your actions and words.
    Let’s face it we all make mistakes but it is the ones who genuinely apologize that get my vote.
    the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence.

    And because of lack of firm evidence many have speculated all the same on this story to begin with.
    As they say “All is forgiven”
    This really turned out to be a good feel story in the end.
    Regardless of any circumstances these parents put their child first and now this is the result of that effort whether they broke the law or not.
    So it may not have been lawful but in the end it turned out to be very Advantagous.
    I am so very happy for those parents who put their child first above all things in order to preserve his life.
    That should be first and foremost by any parent. Great happy article TY

  • March 25, 2015 at 7:20 am

    Watch and wait. The WTBTS would put a positive spin on this to promote their own thing.

  • March 31, 2015 at 5:55 am

    How lovely is that:-):-)

  • March 31, 2015 at 6:04 am

    It can be tough being a jw parent, regardless, this is great news:-)
    We all get wrong occasionaly, this father didn’t:-)x
    That’s some family :-)

    • April 1, 2015 at 2:10 am

      I’m sorry, but you don’t seem to fully understand what actually happened in this case. There is nothing to suggest that the father didn’t get it wrong. There is nothing to suggest that the treatment he had worked any better than the original treatment would have done. Of course, it worked, and we can all be thankful for that, but the original treatment might have worked just as well – we will never know, as he never received that. The family were reckless taking the boy out of care, and I’m convinced that the only reason the NHS consented to the alternative treatment was to get the boy back into treatment as soon as possible without any further complications from the family. Don’t forget that Ashya had to undergo chemotherapy anyway first before he was allowed the treatment.

      • April 1, 2015 at 2:56 am

        My husband had radiation on his prostrate in 2002-2003 and there were only 2 hospitals in the whole state that had radiation that could pin-point the prostrate. That kind of radiation isn’t offered in every hospital. In the case of this little boy, the radiation was into his brain and the radiation would have caused much more collateral damage to him so the father did research to take him to a hospital that had that kind of treatment. He did the right thing.

        This wasn’t your little boy so you or anybody else should not criticize that family for what they did for their little boy to save his life.

        Until you are put in a position like these parents were, you have no idea how hard it is to face the fact that you will probably lose the life of your child and you will do anything possible within your means to save the life of your child.

        I love these parents because they even said they’d give their little boy blood if it meant saving his life which meant that they could be shunned for even saying that.

  • March 31, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Regardless of our beliefs, which is our choice, that’s some Elder.

  • March 31, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Apparently neighbourhood bully by Bob Dylan is a song about the Jewish nation. Such is and has been religious persecution. ” I only said this halibut”. . . Ouch:-)

  • April 11, 2015 at 10:38 am


    There was a programme about this case on BBC South this week. I should imagine it is available on BBC i player.

    It features the doctors assigned to Ashya’s care at the NHS hospital.

    There are some concerns about his on going treatment.

    I have yet to watch the programme, though I have recorded it. I will let you know if any pertinent points come out.

    Peace be with you, Excelsior!

  • April 14, 2015 at 5:16 am


    I finally found time to watch the documentary.

    The King family have not continued with the treatment. Ashya has not had the chemotherapy that the doctors say he needs. Because of this, the experts say that his long term survival chances have almost halved.

    The proton beams were not targeted! His whole brain was hit by protons.

    Also, what happened to the money that was raised on social media to pay for the proton therapy? The NHS eventually paid for it, do what happened to that money?

    It looks like this story has some way to go after all.

    Peace be with you, Excelsior!

  • December 3, 2015 at 11:19 am

    The mother claims to be of the Anointed (though she’s only in her 40s). Strange seeing as her son Naveed posted some questionable videos, illegally filming their experiences with police in airports and even refusing to turn off his phone and stop filming when ordered to by the police. After several JW comments on his YouTube page he’s removed them all bar one, his Ice Bucket challenge:
    As a poster points out, this is related to stem cell research (something I’m personally against being pro-life ) but it just goes to show, I thought, the double standards in the organisation, even from families professing to be brothers of Christ.

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