Sam was born in October 2010, helped into the world by two of my friends and colleagues in the hospital that I worked in, in true Sam style he decided to enter the world looking upwards towards the sky.
Sam was a very quiet baby, happy just to absorb the world around him and as he got older was as happy in his own company playing on his own as he was with others. Sam rarely left our side and in new situations would stand and assess the details before joining in, never one to run head on into things. He loved and still does being outside, either playing down at the beach and throwing stones in the sea, jumping in muddy puddles, playing pooh sticks on the bridge in the woods and riding his bike or scooter. Sam loves to help his dad around the house, he likes to be involved in hammering, drilling and using the screw driver and will sit patiently waiting for his turn. Although quite quiet in temperament that doesn’t stop him having a very stubborn and determined streak!
“He is our amazing, strong, funny little boy. Sam’s future is uncertain so we live day to day enjoying spending family time when possible. We may not be able to change Sam’s future but by raising awareness and money we hope to change other children’s futures for the better.”
When starting nursery Sam ran in and waved goodbye with barely a second glance, he loved it, and prior to starting school spent the summer counting the days down until primary 1 started. On Sam’s first day of school he vomited totally out of the blue but carried on and went to his first day. Within days the vomiting got worse (always in the morning) and Sam began to complain of neck pain, which I later realised was the back of his head he was pointing to. After 3 trips to the GP and less than 2 weeks after the symptoms commenced our GP sent us into our local sick children’s hospital, where we had a CT scan.
The scan showed that Sam had a posterior fossa tumour the size of a small plum and we were immediately sent in an ambulance to Edinburgh hospital for sick children, arriving at 10.30 on a Friday night. An MRI scan on the Monday confirmed the tumour and on the Wednesday Sam had a seven hour operation to remove his tumour. Sam had some balance and mobility issues after his operation but recovered very well. Unfortunately Sam’s tumour came back as a high risk medulloblastoma with metastatic spread. 3 weeks after his initial surgery Sam became unwell again and needed further surgery, he didn’t recover very well after his second operation and over a period of time became more poorly before becoming unresponsive. Sam spent a time in intensive care with extreme brain swelling so severe the doctors told us he would unlikely survive and if he did they expected him to be severely disabled. Sam spent his 5th birthday in intensive care.
Thankfully Sam defied all odds and after 2 weeks showed signs of improvement, he was too poorly at this stage to start his planned radiotherapy so was given 2 cycles of chemotherapy instead to help with his brain swelling. Sam completed his course of radiotherapy and his intense and brutal chemotherapy.
Sam’s Uncle Colin along with an army of supporters took part in Cycle for Sam raising over £27,000. Sam was well enough to leave hospital to meet the cyclists at the finish line which made the cycle extra special. Sam’s health deteriorated quickly and he passed away just weeks later on 14th July 2016 surrounded by his loving family.
Sam will always be our amazing, strong, funny little boy. We may not be able to change Sam’s future but by raising awareness and money we hope to change other children’s futures for the better.