September 29th, 2016

Brave Finlay battles brain tumour and raises £19K for Children’s cancer unit

Updated: 10:45 am, May 07, 2015

A BRAVE boy who has been battling a brain tumour for the last seven months has raised more than £19,000 for Birmingham Chidlren’s Hospital (BCH).

And this week Finlay Church, from Alvechurch, filled in the last bit of the totaliser to officially bring the curtain down on the successful campaign to collect £4million for a new cancer unit at the hospital.

It was back in June last year when Fin was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – the most aggressive malignant primary brian tumour which is rare in children.

The ten-year-old had been getting headaches, suffering sickness in the mornings and had been feeling lethargic and, despite several trips to the doctor’s, his situation was not improving.

He was taken to the Alex for a scan which revealed he had a lesion on the brain.

At that point it was unknown what the abnormal mass was but, after Fin was transferred to the BCH for further tests, a biopsy revealed it was a malignant tumour.

Fin’s mum Penny told The Standard: “At that point our world just stopped.

“You know these days cancer is going to touch your life in some way, but you don’t expect it to be your children.”

Since diagnosis Fin, who goes to Alvechurch Middle School, has had brain surgery and six weeks of daily radiotherapy, along with chemotherapy.

He will now have monthly chemotherapy until September along with MRI scans.

Hopefully, if all goes well, after September all he will need is MRI scans every three months to check everything is okay.

Penny and his dad Wayne said throughout his treatment Fin had been amazing.

“He has been a real inspiration – he just buckles down and gets on with it,” said Penny.

“They say kids are resillient, but he really has been brilliant – the only things he has complained about have been taking tablets which, considering all he has been through, has been unbelievable,” added Wayne.

As well as Fin, the pair also have son Mackenzie, nine, and Tegan, four.

Penny said: “He and Mackenzine fight like all brothers do but they’re best mates.

“Mackenzie has huge admiration for Fin and says there would be no way he would be able to go through everything his brother had.”

The family first began fund-raising for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Big Bandage Appeal which started last July, just weeks after Finlay was diagnosed.

They originally set themselves a target of £1,000 but as friends, family and the local community got behind it, that was smashed, as was the next target of £5,000.

Penny said: “The local community has been fantastic – it just escalated as schools, nurseries and sports clubs got involved.

“Everyone made a real effort – people were pushing money through our letterbox and transferring funds into our account.”

Following cake sales, discos, ice bucket challenges and more, the total now stands at £19,462.

Two girls in Finlay’s class also had their long hair cut for the cause and, as well as raising funds, they donated their hair to the Princess Trust so wigs could be made for young cancer patients.

Fin said the most mermorable fund-raiser for him was the Bupa Junior Run in Birmingham in October.

He had undergone chemotherapy on the day of the event and, although he was not feeling well, he completed the 2.5km course.

“When I finished the race, I threw up in Centenary Square,” he said.

Penny added: “He had a bowl on his lap all the way there and I kept saying maybe he shouldn’t do it, but he was so determined.”

And she said every bit of fund-raising had been worth it.

“The Children’s Hospital touches so many people – the staff here are tremendous but the facilities are out-dated and more space is neeeded.

“The oncology team make your worst nightmare manageable.

“They have held our hand throughout and have always been here for Fin.

“He’s really looking forward to finishing his treatment now.”

And, as well as the successful completion of his treatment, the family will also be able to toast the life-saving legacy they have helped contribute to – the new cancer unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital which will improve the lives of hundreds of young cancer patients every single year.

The £4million, raised in just two-and-a-half years, will improve the lives of hundreds of cancer patients treated at the hospital each year and their families.

The transformed centre will include a greater number of cubicles, better communal areas, an improved outpatients area and better parent accommodation.

Work on the new unit will begin in the spring and is scheduled to be finished in late 2017.

Every year around 1,700 children are diagnosed with cancer in the UK. Of these around 15 per cent are treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Since the appeal launched in 2012, Birmingham Children’s Hospital has diagnosed over 470 patients with cancer.

Last year we diagnosed over 300 children with cancer – 40 of which came from Worcestershire.

Fin with mum Penny and dad Wayne at the Children’s Hospital.