On 11th June 1997 my brother Thomas was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma a rare aggressive childhood cancer. Only about 80-100 children each year are unfortunate enough to have this disease and the outlook for these children is poor.
Tom endured two years of painful treatments but never once complained, when his cancer had reached remission against all the odds we thought our prayers had been answered.
Thomas felt very lucky and content, he had beaten this disease and wanted to help those children who were more unfortunate than himself. He suggested a sponsored bike ride from Holmer Green to Prestwood which raised an enormous amount of money for research into neuroblastoma - how rewarding this was for Tom.
For three years Tom thrived, spearheading and taking part in many charity events. He enjoyed a simple life walking his dog Pip and playing over the woods with his mates. Swimming, trampolining, motor biking and of course supporting Chelsea were his favourite activities. He loved computers and was very clever with all the latest technology.
Life was settled but although healthy and well Thomas was always kept on a tight rein from the hospital due to his bone marrow being so badly damaged by the chemotherapy and the high chance of a relapse.
This wasn't going to stop his love of life and courage. He continued to think of others before himself and was a tower of strength to all who knew him, he was awarded a Queens Golden Jubilee Award for young achiever in October 2002 and more recently in March 2003 he was awarded a Lady Diana Princes of Wales Award for making a real difference to the community and succeeding against all the odds.
Thomas was regularly seen around the village in his wheelchair over the last three months of his life - he wasn't going to hide away feeling sorry for himself and still had so much determination and strength, again he inspired others with his positive attitude.
In April 2003 year the doctors were persuaded to give Thomas some more treatment so he endured more radioactive therapy. This gave Thomas only two weeks of reasonable health before the cancer continued to grow again. Radiotherapy was given just for pain relief but nothing could save Tom.
At twenty five past midnight on Monday morning 30th June 2003 Thomas lost his battle for life. Tom died at home with his Mum, Dad, myself and my sisters Cathy and Clare and other family members at his side . It was a life changing moment for my family but Tom was such an inspiration to others and his want to help other children who were poorly like him was and still is very humbling.
In Tom's 14 years of life he touched so many lives, he was extremely cheeky and had the best sense of humour - I was quite often the butt of his jokes! He was so courageous, never complained even through the most invasive treatments.
Doing the Dreamwalk this year is a small way of raising money for other children who are suffering from childhood cancer, offering them respite in the holiday homes that the charity provide or the Annual Christmas Trip to Euro Disney. Every pound donated will go along way to offering support to families and money towards research.
I appreciate that there are often requests for sponsors but any donation large or small would be gratefully received.
Many thanks, Ceri x