A youngster undergoing chemotherapy is back at school despite his inoperable brain tumour returning for the third time.
Charlie Cox was diagnosed with his tumour – a grade 2 oligoastrocytoma – when he was just eight months old.
The eight-year-old joined his Year 4 classmates for a new term at Abbey Primary School in Morden, south-west London, on Tuesday, despite starting a gruelling 12-month course of chemotherapy in July.
His mum Kirsty Court called his tumour returning “heart-breaking”, but said her focus was to keep everything as normal as possible for Charlie and his four-year-old brother Freddie.
“It was heart-breaking to be told that Charlie’s brain tumour had recurred again. In his short life, having gone through two operations and chemotherapy, I thought he’d suffered enough,” the 32-year-old said.
“Now Charlie is older he understands a lot more about his illness and he’s got a very mature head on his shoulders. He has anxiety about his tumour but tries to take each day as it comes.”
Ms Court is working with the charity Brain Tumour Research to raise awareness of the biggest cancer killer of the under 40s.
The charity, which campaigns for the Government to invest more in research for brain tumours, is calling for an annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers, such as breast cancer and leukaemia.
The tumour is located on Charlie’s optic nerve, meaning that undergoing further surgery could leave him with irreversible damage to his sight.
Charlie, from Morden, said: “It’s rubbish going to hospital in the holidays when I’d rather be doing fun stuff.
“I’m excited to go back to school and see my friends again. I’ve got lots of friends and they’re really nice about my illness.
“I’m looking forward to showing them my cannula when I have it in on treatment days.”