In February 2020, our world fell apart and we began to live every parents worst nightmare. Our 8 year old son Riley was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Riley was a healthy and happy boy and loved to watch and play wrestling and football. He started to feel tired in around Christmas 2019 and over the coming weeks developed a shaking in his right arm which the doctors thought it was a trapped nerve or stress. Within weeks he was struggling to hold his arm steady to eat. At school, Riley had started having trouble writing in class which made the school question me as to why. We were starting to feel desperate and didn't know where to turn. We just knew something wasn’t right. One day after school, Riley started convulsing and we immediately took him to our local A & E hospital and they tried to send us home. I refused to leave and wanted to know what was wrong before we left From there, we were rushed by ambulance straight to Birmingham Children's Hospital. Riley had a biopsy end of January and then came the news which nobody can prepare you for as parents, Riley was diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme, a brain tumour in the left thalamus of his brain. We couldn’t believe what we were being told or process what was happening. We were frantically researching what this meant for Riley and the statistics were devastating for this type of brain tumour. Riley had a life limiting diagnosis extremely rare for his age. Within days of being admitted, Riley had surgery to try and remove the tumour. Because of its location and the high risks involved, the surgeons could only remove 40% of the tumour safely. By the end of April, Riley had started a 6 week course of radiotherapy. The onset of COVID-19 meant a delay in Riley receiving radiotherapy as part of his treatment plan. He started showing signs of hydrocephalus (a build up of fluid on the brain) and had to have an emergency operation to install a shunt. He finally started a short high dose of 15 radiotherapy sessions. At only 8 years old, Riley has been so brave through all his treatment and still manages to make us smile everyday. He never complains and asks us when he can go back to school to see his friends. We have made the difficult decision not to tell Riley about his prognosis in the hope he can enjoy his childhood as much as possible and go back to school again. We are so desperate to save our little boy that we started to look for alternative treatments to help Riley. Sadly, there is no long term cure for this type of tumour but we have found a clinic in Germany which makes peptide vaccines which will give riley the best chance. This would require a vaccine injection every 6 weeks for 2 years but costs £55,000. We will do what ever it takes to give our son a chance but we need help to raise the money needed to take him for this treatment. Any donation you can make big or small could help give Riley more time.
- David Graham
- Sam Barnard-Shephard
- Emily Kavanagh
Amblecote, West Midlands, United Kingdom