Brain tumour boy defies the odds Spider-Man Harry back at school after treatment
It may have been three weeks after the start of term but nobody minded that little Harry St Ledger was a bit late back after the summer break.
Classmates at Castle Primary School in Portchester gave seven-year-old Harry St Ledger a hero’s welcome as he returned after having treatment for a rare and incurable brain tumour.
It was a day his parents, Cairan St Ledger and Fiona Lear, feared they would never see. His delighted mum said: “We couldn’t quite manage to get him back for the first day of term but that didn’t matter. Harry continues to amaze us all as he fights on against the odds. We have been on a roller coaster of emotions this summer.
“While Harry’s tumour remains incurable, he has defied everyone with how well he now is and how he coped with his radiotherapy. I took photos on the doorstep as he was leaving for school and, typical Harry, he asked me why I wanted so many pictures. I told him it was because it was a day we feared we might never see.”
The family, from Portchester, are working with the Brain Tumour Research charity to raise awareness of brain tumours which kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer. They launched Harry’s Appeal for the charity and want to address the historic underfunding for research into brain tumours which have been allocated just 1% of the national spend on cancer research.
Cairan, Fiona, and Harry’s sister Emonie have had a summer of highs and lows. After coming through radiotherapy treatment earlier in the year, Harry went on to have chemotherapy and has experienced a number of setbacks.
A highlight of the summer was when the family travelled to Cornwall and then to Disneyland Paris to enjoy a welcome respite and where Harry met his ultimate superhero, Spider-Man. The action hero has been a pivotal character in Harry’s life and he chose to have his distinctive hooded and web-covered face to decorate the mask he had to wear during his gruelling radiotherapy sessions.
Fiona said: “We were all so touched as Harry ran into the arms of Spider-Man, who was clearly moved as we showed him photos of our boy during his treatment.”
Just days before returning to school Harry led a Walk of Hope on Saturday 29th September along Portsmouth seafront. The event was one of several walks organised by Brain Tumour Research and was attended by 200 supporters who, between them, raised more than £5,500.
Cairan’s cleaning company, HSL Outdoor Cleaning Services, sponsored the inaugural Portsmouth Walk of Hope, providing hot dogs and ‘Mocktails of Hope’ to all finishers.
Brain Tumour Research funds a network of Centres of Excellence, including one at the University of Portsmouth, where scientists are focused on improving treatment options and, ultimately, finding a cure for brain tumours. The charity is also campaigning for the government and larger cancer charities to spend more national on research into the disease.
Tim Green, Senior Community Fundraising Manager at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Harry is an asset to his family, a determined young boy and has achieved so much. We are very grateful to him and his family for their ongoing support and for joining us at the Walk of Hope.”
To donate to Brain Tumour Research via Harry’s JustGiving page, go to https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/Spidermanharry
For further information, please contact:
Annie Slinn at the Brain Tumour Research charity on 01908 867239 or 07591 206545 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors
Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK dedicated to raising funds for continuous and sustainable scientific research into brain tumours, and we are a leading voice calling for greater support and action for research into what scientists are calling the last battleground against cancer.
We are building a network of experts in sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence whilst influencing the Government and larger cancer charities to invest more nationally.
We welcome recent funding announcements for research into brain tumours from the UK Government and Cancer Research UK – £65 million pledged over the next five years. However, this potential funding of £13 million a year comes with a catch – money will only be granted to quality research proposals and, due to the historic lack of investment, there may not be enough of these applications that qualify for grants from this pot.
We want research funding parity with breast cancer and leukaemia. We are calling for a £30-35 million investment every year for research into brain tumours in order to fund the basic research groundwork needed to accelerate the translation from laboratory discoveries into clinical trials and fast-track new therapies for this devastating disease.
The Brain Tumour Research charity is a powerful campaigning organisation and represents the voice of the brain tumour community across the UK. We helped establish and provide the ongoing Secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Brain Tumours (APPGBT).
We are supporting the crucial APPGBT 2018 Inquiry into the economic and social impacts of brain tumours and will publish their report in the autumn. We are also a key influencer in the development strategy for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission.
Key statistics on brain tumours:
- Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age
- Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer
- Historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumours
- In the UK, 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumour
- Brain tumours kill more children than leukaemia
- Brain tumours kill more men under 45 than prostate cancer
- Brain tumours kill more women under 35 than breast cancer
- Less than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50% across all cancers
Please quote Brain Tumour Research as the source when using this information. Additional facts and statistics are available from our website. We can also provide case studies and research expertise for the media.