Sam O’Callaghan (2008-2014)
Sam was diagnosed in May 2011 at 2 ½ years old. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor after it was discovered on an MRI. It was a partial resection of 95%. Due to his age and guidelines here in Scotland and the UK, he started chemotherapy to delay radiotherapy until he was over 3 yrs old. The chemo was brutal and Sam spent many nights and months in the hospital. The first few MRI scans during treatment showed what was left of the tumor was shrinking. He was 4 months away from finishing chemo when a scan showed re-growth. He had another surgery then went on to have proton therapy in Oklahoma, USA. We spent 10 weeks away from our home in Kilmaurs, Scotland over Christmas while Sam had this treatment. During the next 10 months the scans were stable and Sam was well and even started school. In October 2013 we found out the beast had returned and very little could be done. There were no clinical trials in the UK and we were told more radiotherapy would be dangerous. In February 2014 Sam had another surgery and it was agreed he would have more radiotherapy here in the UK. Unfortunately, Sam went downhill and started having fits and required a VP shunt to ease his hydrocephalous. A few weeks later when radiation was due to start, a scan showed the tumor was back as big as ever and nothing more could be done. Sam died 4 weeks later on May 2nd at home in mine and his daddy’s arms at 5 years old.
Sam was a very kind little boy full of fun and cheek. In between treatments he went to Taekwondo and loved to swim. Our hearts are forever broken and find each day a struggle to carry on but we will carry on and make Sam proud.