BY JAMES TWOMEY
A young boy who faced a summer of gruelling chemotherapy after a brain tumour recurred for the third time is well enough to return to school.
Eight-year-old Charlie Cox returned to school on Tuesday, joining classmates in Year 4 at Abbey Primary School in Morden.
He is currently receiving chemotherapy for his tumour, a grade two oligoastrocytoma, which was first diagnosed when he was just eight months old.
Charlie 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”.
Charlie’s mum, Kirsty Court is working with the charity Brain Tumour Research to raise awareness of the biggest cancer killer of people aged under 40.
Kirsty, 32, who works at South Thames College, Merton Campus, said: “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.
“I’ve learned that whatever happens life goes on and my focus is to keep things as normal as possible for Charlie and his four-year-old brother Freddie, who also attends Abbey Primary School.
“Charlie is coping well with his 12-month course of chemotherapy, which began on July 31.”
The tumour is located on Charlie’s optic nerve, meaning that further surgery could leave him with irreversible damage to his eyesight.
Kirsty added: “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.
“He’s found great support through his school and being part of an Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA) group.
“ELSA offers school children facing life challenges the chance to talk about their emotions and to go on trips.
Michael Thelwall, head of fundraising at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We wish Charlie the best as he goes through chemotherapy and thank Kirsty for helping us to raise awareness.
“Charlie’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age.
“Historically just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this disease. We cannot allow this to continue.”
To donate to Brain Tumour Research, go to www.braintumourresearch.org/donation/donate-now