William was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 2 years. He had a limp for some time, which eventually was found to be due to a tumour on his lower spine. An operation was carried out to remove the tumour. The medical staff were very confident it was benign. When William returned from theatre the surgeon said ‘he’s moving both legs’ at which we were overjoyed as this meant the spinal cord had not been damaged too severely. However, within a few days we got the news that the tumour was malignant but the tumour could not be identified, so the treatment could not begin…. William was recovering well from the surgery, but had to re-learn to walk, with his ‘action man’ splint for his now dropped foot. Everyone was amazed at his strength of character and the twinkle in his eye, qualities that stayed with him over his battle for the next 2 years. Eventually it was agreed that treatment should start despite the diagnosis being tenuous. Chemotherapy (for secondary’s in the lung) and radiotherapy followed. William was the only child of his age (then 3 years) to have radiotherapy daily for 6 weeks without an anaesthetic! He lay perfectly still every time!
During William’s illness, we kept friends and family updated by means of a Christmas poem sent with Christmas cards. We wanted to let everyone know the situation without writing a depressing letter!
The following is the story of William’s illness, told through these poems, which follow the events of William’s life, the family and latterly the progress of William’s Fund…his legacy.
To celebrate William’s 18th birthday his Uncle Graham put together this video from old VHS footage… not an easy task compared to today’s technology!
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