Willesden mother of young cancer survivor to raise money for hospital

Tom O’Brien was just 16 when he was diagnosed with a tumour

A mother from Willesden is hoping to raise money to fund research into a ‘quiet’ cancer which almost claimed the life of her son. In April 2010, Tom O’Brien was an active teenager with dreams of becoming a professional footballer having trained with Queen’s Park Rangers football club for three years.

But on the night of his father’s birthday party, the promising Queen’s Park Community School student began to feel pains in his stomach and was taken to hospital where he was kept in theatre for hours.

He was just 16 when he discovered he had a malignant neuroendocrine tumour – a rare type of cancer which can be hard to diagnose. Tom is now on the road to recovery thanks to treatment at St Mark’s Hospital, in Harrow, and the Royal Free Hospital, in Hampstead.

To thank staff who cared for her son, Tom’s mother Diane is taking part in a sponsored swim in Royal Victoria Dock, east London, to raise money for charity.

Ms Thomas hopes to raise at least �2,000 for the Royal Free’s Quiet Cancer Therapy Appeal.

Ms Thomas said: “Tom was a fit, tall, healthy young man prior to his surgery.

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“He is now well again and hopefully will remain so but if there is a recurrence, I want to know I did something to progress research into treatment and hopefully prevention for others.

“I feel I need to do something to help.”

Tom has now returned to school and due to sit his A-levels later this summer.

Ms Thomas said: “Tom’s diagnosis turned our lives upside down but it is so reassuring that he is having the best care possible.

“During this difficult time we have experienced the NHS at its very best and I want to do a little something to say a huge thank you.”

The Neuroendocrine Tumour Unit at the Royal Free became the first European Centre of Excellence for this type of cancer in 2010.

To sponsor Ms Thomas visit www.justgiving.com/Diane-Thomas3