South London family supports Children with Cancer UK following son’s diagnosis

A family from South London is supporting leading childhood cancer charity, Children with Cancer UK, to help raise awareness following son Stanley’s cancer diagnosis.

Stanley Thompson, from Welling, London, was diagnosed with low-risk neuroblastoma,  a type of cancer that develops in early nerve cells, in December 2022, when he was just one-year-old.

One week before his first birthday, Stanley’s parents, Victoria and Bryan, noticed that Stanley was showing signs of mobility issues. After being advised that it could be a viral infection and his mobility continued to decline, Victoria and Bryan took Stanley to the hospital where he spent first birthday having tests.

An MRI detected a tumour on Stanley’s spine and within 12 hours, Stanley underwent surgery to relieve some of the pressure on his spine and was diagnosed with low-risk neuroblastoma.

Victoria comments: “You never believe any child, let alone your child, will be diagnosed with cancer. Our whole world was turned upside down when we heard that our little boy had been diagnosed with cancer just one day after his first birthday. Stanley’s diagnosis all happened so quickly, which has been incredibly hard to process, but for somebody so little, he has shown more strength and resilience than any person we know.”

Neuroblastoma is a cancer which develops from nerve cells, called neural crest cells, which are involved in the development of the nervous system and other tissues. It mostly affects babies and children under the age of five, and around 100 children per year are diagnosed in the UK.

After four intense rounds of chemotherapy and additional surgery to have his central line removed, Stanley rang the end of treatment bell in June 2023 Stanley will continue to have MRIs every three months to monitor his health.

Children with Cancer UK is sharing the inspiring story of Stanley as part of its new awareness feature on neuroblastoma.

The charity’s ‘12 Groups of Cancer’ campaign which launched earlier this year is a new series of short films which aim to help raise awareness and understanding of the 12 groups of childhood and young adult cancer types. The videos give a unique insight into the cancer type, and the information and support parents need when their child has been diagnosed.

Victoria continues: “Stanley has been through so much and we’re incredibly proud of how strong he’s been and the recovery he has made. Since having his central line removed, Stanley is now able to enjoy all the things a little boy should be able to like swimming and is now able to attend nursery which he loves.

“As a family, we continue to worry every day and will always pray for positive news when we visit the hospital every few months. We’re sharing our story in the hope that it raises awareness and the understanding of childhood cancer, and highlights the importance of new scientific research to help beat this devastating disease.”

Children with Cancer UK is one of the leading national children’s charities working towards a world where every child survives cancer.

Christiana Ogunbote, Head of Research at Children with Cancer UK, added: “We would like to thank Stanley’s family for sharing their inspirational story, and helping us to increase understanding of the profound impact it can have on young people and their families.

“As a charity, it’s our mission to fund vital research into cancers affecting children and young adults, support families and raise awareness. Our new 12 Groups of Cancer films are an important part of our ongoing awareness work, and we hope they help parents feel better prepared and informed during their child’s cancer journey.”

Survival rates for children’s cancers are improving. Fifty years ago, three-quarters of children diagnosed with cancer did not survive; today more than 8 in 10 children diagnosed with cancer in the UK survive. However, around 4,200 children and young adults are diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK, and cancer is one of the leading causes of death for young people.

To watch Children with Cancer UK’s ’12 Groups of Cancer’ campaign film on neuroblastoma, visit Children with Cancer UK – YouTube

For more information about Children with Cancer UK, go to www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk