Zak and his Family visited the Lodge from the 19th December.
"A year ago Zak was a healthy sports mad 17 year old. Then one day we noticed a small bump just above his cheekbone, It was painless and he felt well so we put it down to some sporting injury. After getting it checked in minor injuries, they were evidently concerned about how it felt. It was right before Christmas so things were slowing down in the NHS. However they put us on an urgent cancer pathway to have it investigated. Gripped with terror we tried to stay calm and get through Christmas. Just before Zak's 18 birthday he had the area scanned and initially the consultant believed it not to be anything sinister. The lump was on his parotid gland and children and young people rarely ever have any issues there. However our very worst fears were confirmed as the biopsy revealed it was cancerous. Even the consultant was stunned. Things moved very quickly, more scans and surgery to remove the whole gland. This particular gland has facial nerves running through it and it is a very tricky surgery. Zak's tumour was wrapped in a nerve which had to be cut meaning it had to be fused in surgery. He has lost some movement above his eyebrow and had a big scar. All of this was going on in the second year of Zak's A levels. After surgery Zak and I had to move to London for seven weeks so Zak could have proton beam therapy at the new centre at UCLH. Despite some reservations from his team, he sat all his A'levels in hospital whilst in treatment. He was selected for a GB Basketball selection camp which he had to miss whilst in treatment which he dealt with gracefully. This has been such a trying year for him but he's stunned us with his calm and grace. We are really looking forward to making some different Christmas memories with Zak and his sisters as our run up to Christmas was so tense last year. Zak smashed his A'levels he took in hospital- he also earned a University place to study psychology and is back to playing competitive sport again which is one true love! Thank you to everyone at BSF such a lovely charity."