My name is Samantha and I am from Cornwall, UK. I can tell you that I am your average lady in every way; juggling a home, a family and a job, and this is what makes my story more terrifying; that my world could come crashing down and be destroyed so suddenly and frighteningly. It has opened my eyes to how vulnerable we all are to being physically or emotionally hurt from life changing circumstances beyond our control. My son, Jack, was a gorgeous little boy, full of kindness, fun, laughter, he brought so much happiness to so many. He loved his family and friends.
On 17th September 2008, 8 year old Jack was diagnosed with Diffuse Pontine Glioma, which is an incurable brain tumour located in the brain stem. After doctors examined Jack and reviewed his MRI, we received the worst new of our lives. The tumour was inoperable and the average life span for a child with Diffuse Pontine Glioma after diagnosis is 3 to 18 months. Jack fought his battle with Diffuse Pontine Glioma for 11 months. In that time, Jack's father and I never gave up hope. He passed away on 31st August 2009 in my arms.
Jack was a gorgeous little boy. He was very bright and he excelled in maths. He was very popular with his classmates. He also enjoyed swimming and football. From the age of 4, Jack had been learning Martial Arts.
• During August 2008, Jack was suffering from weight loss, headaches, nausea, double vision and dizziness. On 17th September 2008, our world came crashing down when he was diagnosed with a rare and incurable brain stem tumour (Diffuse Pontine Glioma).
• We were told that Jack needed 6 weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy to shrink the tumour and buy some extra time.
• Before Jack became ill, he was working hard towards his black belt in Martial Arts. In October 2008, Jack was awarded his Black Belt at the British Open Championships. Afterwards he just burst into tears and said it was the happiest day of his life. We felt so proud of our little boy.
• His treatment continued with weekly hospital appointments and cycles of high doses of chemotherapy. This weakened his immunity and made him feel very tired; he had several chest and ear infections during that time.
• During April 2009, Jacks symptoms of headaches, double vision and nausea returned. An MRI scan revealed that the tumour had grown much bigger. This is when we were told the terrible news that there was no more treatment.
• By the end of July 2009, Jack became progressively worse; he lost his balance and could no longer walk. He could no longer play football or do martial arts, the things he loved most. He knew he was different from his friends but never complained.
• August 2009, Jack lost his speech and even though communicating became very frustrating for him during his illness and right up to the end of his life, he kept his cheeky sense of humour and was very brave and strong throughout. He never complained or got upset and his stamina amazed everyone who met him.
• At the beginning of August, we stayed at Little Bridge Childrens Hospice South-West for a short break and Jack liked it so much that we returned again on 17th August. During this stay he became very weak. He lost the ability to swallow; he was having difficulty breathing and was in a lot of pain. He was treated with oxygen and diamorphine.
• All I could do was hold him tight, tell him I loved him, cuddle him and hold on to his little hand. At 5 am on Monday 31st August 2009, Jack passed away in my arms.