Over the last summer our son, Liam, complained of nausea and headaches. On Friday, 3rd October 2014. we had his eyes checked at the local Specsavers in Maidenhead, who identified papilledema (swelling of the optical disc and nerve) and immediately referred him for further tests at Royal Berkshire hospital in Reading.
On Saturday 4th October 2013 a CT scan was taken and a tumour in the Internal Auditory Canal (IAC) near the brain stem was found. A critical care team rushed Liam by ambulance to the John Radcliffe Hospital at Oxford University. Liam needed a first operation in the early hours of Sunday, the 5th October 2014 to drain off fluid and relieve the pressure on the brain.
The following day, on Monday 6th October 2014, a second 11-hour operation was undertaken to remove as much of the tumour as possible, however, they were unable to remove everything due to invasion of brain tissue by tumour cells.
On Friday 10th October 2014 a second MRI scan was taken and with that and the biopsy a diagnosis of a malignant medulloblastoma grade IV was given. Those of you, who know Liam, know him as full of life and one of the funniest boys you’ll ever meet. His friends say that “the cheer has gone out of our class” when they describe how they feel about him not being there, and his smile is missed by his friends every day.
After the operation, Liam initially had problems speaking and walking, but with his usual zest for life he’s gotten much better and even the doctors are surprised. He still has an extremely aggressive, cancerous brain tumour, of course, and there are a few options for him to have it treated to try and save his life. The standard treatment options in the UK can offer a hope of cure, but radiotherapy on the brain and spine (called craniospinal radiotherapy) is well known for severe and life changing side effects. Another option is proton treatment, currently unavailable in the UK. It is much more accurate and while it doesn’t improve the way the tumour it self is treated compared to standard radiotherapy, there are advantages in side effects, including a lesser chance of secondary cancers in later life, as proton beams do not hit tissue that does not need to be treated. You can read more about proton therapy here.
We have decided to enable Liam to have proton therapy in the United States and as it is not funded by the NHS, we will pay for treatment and all other costs involved ourselves. We are raising funds in cooperation with Matt’s fund #freddieshero and Kids ‘n’ Cancer the hope of giving Liam a chance to the best treatment available for his condition with the least side effects.
Thank you for making it happen for Liam! #fightforliam