A six-year-old Catholic schoolboy who has undergone 18 months of chemotherapy to treat a brain tumour has enjoyed his first day back at school.
Bobby Humphries’ parents have spoken of how they feared they would never see that day after being told his tumour had recurred in November 2017.
The end of the summer holidays can leave some youngsters glum, but for Bobby, from Yardley, Birmingham, it has been another landmark.
He returned to lessons at the start of the new academic year at St Thomas More Catholic Primary School, Sheldon, having finished the gruelling course of treatment.
His parents, Georgina and Aaron Humphries, are now facing a nervous wait with their brave son ahead of a scan on 23rd September.
That will show what effect the treatment – which has meant among other symptoms the loss of his hair – has had.
The Birmingham City Football fan was just two years old when his symptoms first developed, vomiting up to 20 times a week and suffering debilitating headaches.
He was eventually diagnosed with a grade 2 glioma.
He underwent surgery and chemotherapy which stabilised the tumour until its recurrence almost two years ago.
The tumour’s location in his right frontal lobe means it is impossible to completely remove with surgery, and doctors have warned that because of his age it could grow again, meaning further treatment.
But the youngster is focusing on the positives, including meeting his favourite footballer, Blues’ striker Lukas Jutkiewicz, and being gifted a season ticket pass by the club so he can enjoy watching his heroes on the pitch.
His parents are sharing their family’s ordeal to raise awareness about brain tumours and the work of charity Brain Tumour Research.
Mrs Humphries said: “In his short life, Bobby has already gone through so much.
“There are no words to describe how terrifying it is to be told your son has a brain tumour.
“It was horrendous to see Bobby face life-threatening surgery and chemotherapy at such a young age.
“The operation could have left Bobby with irreversible symptoms; there was also a chance he could die.”
She added: “It was devastating when Bobby’s tumour recurred.
“Each time chemotherapy was administered Bobby would suffer with horrendous sickness.
“He’s also suffered from a weakened immune system and while he’s been at school, he’s caught viruses here and there, but with 88 per cent attendance this year, he’s done pretty well.
“His teachers are so supportive and he loves to be with his friends at school.”
She said that Bobby’s treatment finished in early August and he was now delighted to be to get back to school with his friends.
His mother said: “Having been warned of the risks of his treatment, it’s a day we feared we wouldn’t see.”
She added: “Bobby has a follow-up scan on 23rd September and that is a nerve-wracking time for us all.
“We’re hoping for the best-case scenario, that the tumour has shrunk.
“The doctors are positive about Bobby’s future but have always been very clear that because of his age, the tumour could grow again, meaning he would require even more treatment.
“It’s a constant worry.
“Although it’s hard, we try not to dwell on the negatives and to embrace every day with our beautiful son.”
Carrie Bater, from Brain Tumour Research, said: “Bobby’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age.
“What’s more, historically just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
“We cannot allow this situation to continue.”
The charity funds research into tumours and it is also campaigning for more investment to help ultimately find a cure.
To donate, go to www.braintumourresearch.org
Picture: Six-year-old Bobby Humphries, who has undergone 18 months of chemotherapy to treat a brain tumour, enjoyed his first day back at school. (Brain Tumour Research/PA).