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Cure Neuroblastoma Max

Charlie Jack Gover

10/06/2000-24/7/2003

Charlie was born in Southampton on the 10/06/2000 weighing a healthy 7lbs 14oz. He was my second child, younger brother to Callum. There was only 12mnths between them in age so they were more like twins. They were a real terrible twosome always up to mischief together whenever my back was turned. When he was two his baby sister Chelsea was born. Charlie doted on her, you would always find him sat next to her rocking her chair. He was such a joy to have in our lives.

It was a couple of months before his 3rd birthday when Charlie first seemed unwell. He had a bug that he couldn't quite shake off and became constipated. It was quite late one night and I was starting to worry so I rang NHS direct who advised that I give him Lactulose and Calpol and if symptoms persist to take him to see our local GP. After a couple of days his symptoms seemed to have worsened, his tummy was swollen and hard and he also was not urinating regularly so called our GP and arranged a home visit, upon his visit he came to the conclusion that Charlie had an ear infection I disagreed with this diagnosis, he then advised that I should take him to the local hospital (Southampton General Hospital) for tests.

Once Charlie was admitted there were many tests done by a number of doctors and he was sent for scans. The following day his dad and I were called into a consultants office where we were told that they had discovered a cancerous mass in his abdomen called neuroblastoma and that we had an extremely poorly son.He was taken to theatre for a central line to be put in and to do a biopsy on the mass. Charlie reacted badly to the general anaesthetic and had vomited on the operating table as a result was placed in a high dependency unit, thankfully this was only for a night.

When we next met with his consultant she explained how cancer was diagnosed in stages and that Charlie had stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma. Our whole family were completely crushed. She went on to explain the protocol for his treatment which was to be 10 rounds of chemo followed by surgery, followed by high dose chemo and eventually radiotherapy. His chemo was started almost immediately. Charlie reacted well to his treatment and within a few days was back to his cheeky self. He was a very popular character on the ward with patients and staff. He loved running round with his stethoscope pretending to be his favourite doctor.

The big day for his op finally came around. We were told that as well as removing the tumour they also had to remove his left kidney as there was so much of the tumour around it. Charlie was taken down to theatre at 9am. We finally got a call to say he was out of theatre at 6pm and we could see him. It was the worst thing in the world to see him in ICU with his eyes still taped closed from the operation and the amount of tubes coming from him. The surgeon came round to talk us through the operation and told us that there were complications in theatre, because so much of the mass was around his aorta they nicked it and Charlie had a massive bleed. Patching this up they caused a massive bleed which they managed to control but in doing this irreparable damage was done to his right kidney and our son had less than 24hrs to live. No more could be done for him.

Charlies will to live was so strong that four days later he was still with us clinging to life. Everyday the nurses would come in and tell us that he probably wouldn't be with us the next day. On the morning of the fourth day his nurse Tamsin called me out to speak to me, she told me that maybe Charlie was still holding on because as a child he maybe needed our permission to let go. That day I lay next him and told him that it was time and no matter what we would always love him and he would be going with the angels. That evening on 24/7/03 Charlie took his last breath.

I will never get over losing Charlie, they say everything happens for a reason and nearly eight years on I am still struggling to work out what possible reason there could be for my son and all the other children to get this horrible disease. Why do some children get better and some don't.

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