Oliver, 8, from Newcastle
Oliver was diagnosed with a brain tumour in February 2010 and had surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy as part of his treatment, which lasted 18 months. Oliver now has regular follow up scans.
He also has Crohn’s disease, and when he first became seriously unwell (lethargy and vomiting) his mother Karen – an oncology doctor – thought it was a flare-up of his general illness.
After four months’ of appointments, a camera was placed in Oliver’s stomach and a tumour showed up on one of the scans of his head. Karen said: “It was just straight out of the blue – I felt like I’d been hit and stunned when I first heard.”
Karen and her husband Mark – also an oncology doctor – took five months off work to care for Oliver as “we just couldn’t function supporting cancer patients at that time.”
Their first contact with CLIC Sargent was when Lynn, their social worker, approached them in the clinic and began by talking about the diagnosis and treatment in a way they could all understand. From that point onwards Lynn has been there at all times with well-rounded support.
Karen said: “Lynn has discussed things like counselling that siblings might need if they felt left out or worried, whether we would need financial help, or whether Oliver would be able to stay on track with education. She’s always been so human and calm. For example, we had booked to go on a holiday to Disneyland and because we couldn’t go, we were going to lose all the money we’d spent. We were so worried about Oliver that I didn’t care about the money and we didn’t have the time or energy to think about it. Lynn picked it up for us. She also spoke to Oliver and his brother Dylan’s teachers so they could talk to school friends about what Oliver’s diagnosis meant and what to expect, like why his hair might fall out."
“Lynn talked to all the teachers and the headteacher, to make sure that everyone knew, so Oliver wouldn’t feel misunderstood or isolated at any point. Lynn even went to talk to Dylan’s teacher and gave Dylan all the emotional support he needed as a sibling."
“If I ever feel a bit wobbly or sad, she’s always there for a chat, as your worries don’t disappear when treatment stops. CLIC Sargent continues to support families after treatment and I think that is so important. We couldn’t thank Lynn and the charity enough.”