‘We didn’t dare dream he’d still be with us’

Oliver McDermott was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour just before his 2nd birthday.'Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Oliver McDermott was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour just before his 2nd birthday.'Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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Oliver McDermott was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour just before his second birthday and his parents were warned he may not survive.

Now, as he is about to turn six and has been cancer free for three years, his family are organising a fund-raising ball for Candlighters on February 28 at the Queen’s Hotel, Leeds.

“Candlighters is an amazing charity and really helped us when Oliver was being treated in the LGI for such a long time,” says Oliver’s mum Tracy, from Horsforth.

Tracy and husband Tim, who have two daughters Evie, 11 and Ruby, nine, knew something was seriously wrong with Oliver when he started to vomit.

“We took him to the doctor but he pretty much dismissed it as a viral infection,” says Tracy.

“In the end my husband asked to see to another doctor and she sent us straight to A&E.”

A scan of his brain revealed a golf ball sized tumour which was malignant and the cancer cells had started to spread to his spine.

“They were very honest with us and they gave us a pretty grim prognosis. This type of tumour is so rare, they were talking to America to decide the best way to treat it.”

Surgeons were unable to remove all the tumour and Oliver underwent aggressive chemotherapy, and then radiotherapy.

“Radiotherapy is very bad for the developing brain, but when you are told it is your son’s only hope it’s a no brainer.”

Oliver’s treatment finished in January 2012 and since then he has remained cancer-free, but the radiotherapy has affected his hearing, left him with learning difficulties and other health problems.

Throughout the dark times there have been moment of joy.

Last year Evie and Ruby organised Tracy and Tim’s wedding after applying to the CBBC show Marrying Mum and Dad.

They chose a superhero themed wedding and organised the entire thing.

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