Children With Cancer Fund
Children With Cancer Fund
Children With Cancer Fund (Polegate)
5 Western Avenue, Polegate, East Sussex, BN26 6EP Tel: 01323 488561
info@childrenwithcancerfund.org.uk Registered Charity No.1110644



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In Memory of Spencer


Spencer

Spencer passed away in January 2008


Spencer and his family, mum Amanda, dad Paul and sister Amalia, were put in touch with us by Francis who is a nurse at the Royal Alexander Children's Hospital in Brighton. We managed to arrange a day out at Drusillas Zoo in Alfriston.

Below is a letter from the family about the effects of Spencer's cancer.

This is a story about Spencer who is three years old, on the 11th December 2006 Spencer was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and from that day all of our lives have changed. We have spent the majority of the last seven months at the Royal Marsden undergoing chemotherapy and, if we are not staying at "Hotel Marsden", we have been in patients at the Royal Alexander Children's hospital in Brighton. Spencer is a real character and the staff at Marsden adore him, as he is usually chasing around the ward on a little bike and causing havoc!!!

The staff have even renamed him "in your own time Spence". First of all he had the staff scratching their heads as it took six attempts to get his stem cells!!!! Recently we have just completed his high dose chemo and, once again, Spencer was in no rush to recover. He ended up in isolation for five weeks and there is a picture opposite of him trying to escape through the isolation hatch!!!!

The next step for us all is radiotherapy in a couple of weeks.

Spencer has an older sister called Amalia who has been absolutely brilliant throughout his treatment, even though we know her heart is breaking when we are not together as a family, she has never once complained!

We will keep you updated

Lots of Love Amanda, Paul, Amalia and Spencer

Spencer making his escape!
Spencer making his escape!

Spencer and Amalia having fun at Drusillas
Spencer and Amalia having fun at Drusillas

Update December 2007:

Dear All our Friends and Family

Our main reason for writing this letter is to catch up a little, give a brief diary of events so far and inform you all of how Spencer is getting on and to also thank everyone who has given us such fantastic support over the past year.

We have received many cards from friends and family, letting us know they are thinking of us, and offering us help and support in whatever way they can. We have received many gifts for Spencer and even Amalia was never forgotten.

Neuroblastoma a solid tumour, which usually originates near the adrenal gland (near the kidney), most patients have widespread disease when diagnosed as this type of cancer is very hard to detect, and can often have no symptoms at all.

Spencer had widespread disease when he was diagnosed on December 11th 2006, the main tumour was very large and was attached to his left adrenal gland; it had also spread to his lymphatic glands in his neck.

We have spent most of this year in and out of various hospitals across Brighton and London, more time in, than out. He has undergone various treatments, all very hard and pretty horrific.

He is our brave little monkey and has coped amazingly well with them all. He and Amalia are our love, hope and inspiration every single day.

Here is a brief diary of the main parts of treatment below:


1. Biopsy, Bone Marrow and insertion of central line - December 14th 2006

Spencer was admitted to St Georges Hospital, Tooting, where he went for his first general anaesthetic; they took a biopsy of the tumour and also checked his bone marrow. He had a central line (Hickman line) fitted so they could administer his drugs throughout forthcoming treatments without having to keep inserting needles in to him.

2. Surgery - April 2007

Surgery was carried out at St Georges Hospital; the surgery lasting eight , nail biting and highly stressful hours, but was very successful. We spent nine days here, two of these with Spencer in intensive care.

3. Stem cell transplant and high dose chemotherapy - June 2007

Unfortunately as always throughout Spencer’s treatment - things didn’t go to plan and it took seven attempts to try and obtain enough bone marrow for his transplant, in the end they decided to go with what they managed to obtain, but it was below the minimum level, however after so many attempts they decided they had to go with it. Throughout high dose he contracted a virus and ended up in isolation at the Royal Marsden for seven long weeks.

4. Radiotherapy - 3 weeks August 2007

This involved travelling daily to the Royal Marsden for 3 weeks. He went under a general anaesthetic everyday for radiotherapy and it lasted approximately 20 minutes.


Unfortunately on November 27th Spencer was feeling poorly and admitted to Brighton hospital, regrettably the cancer has returned and there is no cure. We came home with Spencer on Friday 7th December. We are told that he will not have long with us as the cancer is so aggressive so all we can do is hope and pray that he does not suffer too much pain as he has already been through so much this year already. (Neuroblastoma has one of the worst cure rates of all childhood cancers)

As we said before, we have received such love and support from so many through this ordeal and cannot begin to express just how much we really appreciate all of this and would like to apologise for not thanking everyone individually.

All our love

Amanda, Paul, Amalia and Spencer

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