“Felix was a bright, fun and loving little boy with a wise head for someone so young,” his dad Matt says. “He was loving and tactile and loved to really nuzzle into his mum.”
When, aged four, Felix said that his back was hurting, it was relatively lightly dismissed by the family’s doctor. But after Felix told his mum and dad ‘it really hurts when I laugh’, they saw a different GP who felt a mass in their little boy’s abdomen. He advised Matt and Colleen to take their little boy straight to the Royal Marsden hospital.
Seeing the word ‘cancer’ written on the hospital signs was, Matt says, a devastating indication of the journey to come.
Little Felix was diagnosed with high risk, stage four neuroblastoma. Around 100 children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year in the UK. Most are young – less than five years old. And sadly, high-risk neuroblastoma can be very difficult to treat.
Felix endured more than two years of gruelling treatment that began with six rounds of chemotherapy and included radiotherapy, surgery and immunotherapy. Brave Felix remained cheerful and was unaware of the gravity of this disease: “Felix’s fortitude gave us strength,” his dad says.
Felix was treated in the UK, Germany and the USA but, sadly, lost his fight against neuroblastoma aged only six.
Despite their terrible loss, Colleen and Matt have many wonderful memories: “Felix lived a brilliant life. He was with his brother and sister, he was happy,” Matt says. Felix’s memorial bench is movingly inscribed: ‘Felix White. Wonderful son, loving brother and a true Jedi knight.’
Aware of research into neuroblastoma funded by Action, Matt says: “As many trials as possible are needed, as you can’t treat all children with neuroblastoma the same. Because it’s in the UK, it’s giving an option to UK children who are fighting this terrible disease.”
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