A young boy from Lincoln diagnosed with a brain tumour is backing a charity campaign to make sure that childhood cancer patients get some much-needed comfort this Christmas.
Nathaniel Gidman, known as Nate, was the picture of perfect health. Then out of the blue in September 2020 he started being sick every morning. This turned out to be caused by a brain tumour, which was creating extra pressure in his head.
A week before Nate’s 4th birthday, surgeons operated on him and managed to safely remove over 90% of his tumour. This was followed by an intensive cycle of high dose chemotherapy and targeted radiation, which caused hair and some hearing loss.
There were additional setbacks to be faced. In between treatments, Nate’s pressure on his brain was found to be at a dangerous level, so he had to be fitted with a VP shunt, a thin plastic tube, to help drain excess fluid.
On top of this Nate developed sepsis, but thankfully, this was quickly identified and treated.
Recently the family received the difficult news that Nate’s cancer has progressed in his brain and spine.
Nate and his family are backing Cancer Support UK’s ‘Christmas Fill a Kit’ campaign. Nate received a Kids’ Kit (funded by the appeal), packed with goodies to cheer up a child living with cancer or undergoing treatment at Christmas. From a warmable cuddly bunny and cosy socks to small toys, colouring sets, puzzle books and practical items such as antibacterial wipes, the kits will help bring a smile to children who need it.
Phil said: “These pick-me-ups make such a difference to Nate. Cancer Support UK’s Kids’ Kit was brilliant – even now, we still use the notepad. I look at it as I type to plan out our feed targets and day-to-day medication time slots. The bunny and the yo-yo are his favourite items from the kit. The bunny has pride of place in his bed.”
Now the Gidman family are encouraging people to donate to the appeal, so other local families can benefit from the kits.
Phil said: “We’re helping Cancer Support UK to spread the word about the appeal as we feel it’s very important that other children and families get these special gifts to help them through treatment over Christmas.”
Gemma Holding, Cancer Support UK’s CEO, said: “Although childhood cancer is relatively rare, some children will spend the festive season in hospital, unable to have the Christmas of their dreams, which is why Kids’ Kits are so important. A kit containing toys and colouring sets can help a child living with cancer to pass the time during treatment in hospital this Christmas.
“We have a range of cancer kits, which have been designed by adults and children who have had cancer themselves, to provide practical and handy items that people will find genuinely useful during their treatment. We have Cancer Kits, Chemo Kits and Kids’ Kits, which we supply free of charge to people living with cancer in the UK. By sending a gift today they could help another child, just like Nathaniel, going through the toughest of times.”
Cancer Support UK is asking as many people as possible to bring a smile to a child’s face by getting behind their Fill a Kit campaign. People can donate to the campaign by visiting the Fill a Kit page: www.cancersupportuk.org/gifts