Samuel's a little star

A PORTISHEAD schoolboy who was nominated for a national bravery award after fighting his way back to health after suffering a brain tumour is urging other youngsters to be put forward for the accolade. Eight-year-old Samuel Pilsworth was diagnosed with a

A PORTISHEAD schoolboy who was nominated for a national bravery award after fighting his way back to health after suffering a brain tumour is urging other youngsters to be put forward for the accolade.Eight-year-old Samuel Pilsworth was diagnosed with a brain tumour in August 2006 and underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery as doctors battled the condition.During his ordeal, Samuel was presented with a Cancer Research UK Little Star award for his bravery when fighting the illness.Samuel, who attends Portishead Primary School, is now appealing for other children to be put forward for the award.Samuel said: "The awards are for any youngster aged 17 or under, who continue to sparkle after being diagnosed with cancer."It can really give children a lift during such a difficult time."The charity is inviting anyone who knows other brave children who are currently battling cancer or have undergone treatment from the disease in the past five years to nominate them for a Little Star award.Samuel's story began when he started to have headaches just before the summer holidays and then started to lose sight in one eye.Mum Alison said: "Initially we thought it was migraines, then we knew it was something worse."Samuel was diagnosed in accident and emergency at Bristol Children's Hospital where doctors could see the tumour and revealed that trapped spinal fluid was what was causing the headaches.They fitted a device called a shunt which helped relieve the pressure on his brain and over the coming months he underwent four doses of chemotherapy.It was a difficult time for the family as Samuel's dad Dermod was coming out of 34 years in the navy with no job and Alison was pregnant with the couple's sixth child.But the family received a boost towards the end of the year when they heard the tumour was dead and Samuel needed an operation.Alison said: "After the operation, I have never seen a consultant look so happy - the tumour had come out in one piece and he was jumping around the room."Three days after Christmas the brave youngster started a six-week course of chemotherapy at the children's hospital and was well enough to return to school in the summer half term.Alison said Samuel, who still has to go back for three monthly blood tests, had dealt with all of his treatment fantastically.She said: "Samuel was great throughout it all - he was laughing and joking with his brothers and sisters and that really helped."We lost a year of our lives with Samuel being ill and we are just coming out of it."Cancer is the most common cause of death from illness in children aged between one and 14 and each year about 1,400 children are diagnosed with the disease.Cancer Research UK spokesman Tom Bourton said: "This is the fifth year that Cancer Research UK's Little Star awards have recognised the nation's child cancer patients and survivors, identifying the unique challenges faced by young people diagnosed with cancer."The awards are open to all under 17s who have cancer or have undergone treatment in the last five years.Each and every child nominated will receive the accolade in the form of a Little Star trophy, a certificate signed by celebrities including Dr Who Star David Tennant and Kylie Minogue, and a goody bag courtesy of Disney, HarperCollins books, Jetix children's TV and Orion Children's Books.To nominate a 'Little Star' email littlestar@cancer.org.uk or call 0113 231 9828 to request a nomination form.Samuel is pictured right with members of his family.


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