Ben and his Family visited the Lodge from the 13th February.
"Ben was 15 when, at the begining of January 2022, he started complaining of a stiff sore lower back.
Initially put down to poor posture and lounging around. After a few weeks he started to get some nerve pain down his left leg and into his foot.
His doctor suspected sciatica, and suggested some physiotherapy. After 4 weekly sessions there had been no improvement, infact, it had got worse, more, persistent aches and nerve pain.
Our GP decided at that point that something wasn't right, and called our local hospital to get him in for an MRI urgently. It was arranged for the following day with an appointment via A&E, but when he arrived, he was turned away by the overseeing consultant with some muscle relaxants and told to come back after the 5 day course, if it was no better...
After 4 days, he was getting bad pins and needles and numbness and the next morning he woke up and he couldn't move his leg properly!
Thankfully, a totally different team saw him in A&E, a pair of newly qualified doctors. Some might not see that as a good thing, thankfully it mean that they were up front with us, not knowing what was happening, but being very thorough, with tests and pushing up the chain for more. He had numerous x-rays of leg and spine and most importantly, he had the MRI our GP requested a week prior.
Once the doctors had seen the MRI, that was it, it was all go. It was late in the evening but they wanted us over to the spinal specialists at John Radcliffe in Oxford. At about midnight we were 'blue lighted' across to Oxford. Where we stayed for the next 3 weeks for test after test.
He was prepped for cancer treatment even before a full diagnosis had been made.
At the end of the first week of April, Ben was diagnosed with a very aggressive bone cancer (Ewing's Sarcoma) in his lower spine. It had also spread into the soft tissue and then traveled up his spinal cord causing pressure and nerve damage.
The incredibly hard part to accept was that it was inoperable.
But on the plus side, there was no evidence that it had spread anywhere else (even his bone marrow tests were clear).
Due to its location and the fact it couldn't be operated on, he was put forward for Proton Bean Therepy instead of traditional radiation therapy. This is hoped to minimise the possibility of secondary cancers over the coming years and significantly reduce the negative side effects on his organs etc.
Once the chemotherapy started to do its thing, he actually started to get feeling back in his leg, and eventually regained a lot of the control he had lost.
He has pushed through 10 months of intensive chemotherapy, and somehow managed to remain strong and determined throughout the whole journey.
He took full advantage of living in London for 7 weeks for the proton beam therapy, enjoying the food (when his appetite was ok) and visiting all the museums he could handle!
Car spotting and photography helped too.
Despite not being a football fan, he even met David Beckham during one of his hospital visits.
He has now finished his treatment plan. His chemo finished just before his 16th birthday (Nov 22). He had a few delays but finally had his lines removed just three days before Christmas.
He had his end of treatment consultation a week ago, and although it's not really sunk in, he was told that the tumor is no longer showing any signs of being cancerous!
The best news we could have at this stage.
(Even if we don't want to let our guard down)
He's got his first follow up MRI booked for March.
He's slowly starting to plan for the future again.
Focusing on his very close GCSEs and has enrolled for an Engineering course at college for next year. He's started to learn to drive and we have been fixing up his first car. He even has the opportunity of some work experience at Red Bull Racing during the summer.
We’d like to thank everyone at the Ben Saunders Foundation for this much needed break."