A courageous four-year-old from Silverknowes who lost a kidney to cancer and endured eight months of chemotherapy has been chosen to launch a special awards scheme that recognises the courage of Scots youngsters.
In 2015 the lives of Finlay Thomson and his family were turned upside down when leading up to his first birthday his parents Anna, 39, and Bryan,38 noticed his stomach had become swollen and he was struggling to eat.
Results of a scan stopped them in their tracks.
Finlay was diagnosed with a kidney cancer known as Wilms’ tumour and underwent a seven-hour operation to remove a 2.2kg tumour which had grown so big it was pushing his other organs out of the way.
Now scans show he’s clear of cancer and he has received a Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Award for demonstrating courage during a tough fight back to health.
The awards, in partnership with TK Maxx, celebrate the strength shown by youngsters who have been diagnosed with and treated for cancer. Mum Anna said: “We are so blessed to have our chatty, friendly, caring little hero. We’re hoping when he grows up he’ll not remember what it was like to be treated for cancer but we’ll never forget what Finlay has been through. We’ll also never forget the outstanding care we got from all the medical team in hospital in Edinburgh or the amazing support we got from our family during the hardest time of our lives.”
Finlay completed chemotherapy in November 2015 and is now thriving. He was at the heart of family celebrations in February this year when his baby brother Aidan was born. Family and friends have also raised more than £20,000 for Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children.
Around 130 children are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland every year. In the early 1970s, four in ten under 15s with cancer survived for at least five years. Today, it’s more than eight in ten.
Finlay’s family know only too well how crucial new developments and breakthroughs are in helping children and adults survive cancer. Now the family are encouraging anyone who knows a young cancer patient to nominate them for the honour in the run up to Christmas.
There is no judging panel for the awards because Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens believes every child diagnosed with cancer deserves special recognition.
All children nominated will receive a unique trophy, £50 TK Maxx gift card, T-shirt and a certificate signed by a host of famous faces, including Strictly Come Dancing’s Dr Ranj, Dame Emma Thompson, Una Healy and Aston Merrygold, as well as children’s favourite entertainer Mister Maker.
Lisa Adams, spokeswoman for Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens in Scotland, said: “Cancer can have a devastating impact on young cancer patients lives and many of those who survive may live with serious long-term side effects from their treatment. Our mission is to fund research to find new, better and kinder treatments for young cancer patients in Scotland, and across the UK. We want to bring forward the day when every child and young person survives cancer and does so with a good quality of life.
“So we’re calling on people across Scotland to nominate inspirational youngsters for this year’s Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Awards so that we can recognise their incredible courage.”
Since 2004, TK Maxx has raised £32 million for the charity to help beat children’s cancers. To nominate a child for an award, visit cruk.org/kidsandteens.