Preston family of five's life turned upside down as 5-year-old son battles aggressive form of cancer

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The life of a Preston based family of five has turned upside down as their youngest child continues to battle an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Five-year-old Jenson Lewis from Ingol, Preston was one of 52 children diagnosed with Medulloblastoma in the UK last year. 

Doctors found a tumour the size of a tomato in Jenson’s brain last summer, after the former Ingol Community Primary School pupil displayed symptoms around co-ordination and balance.

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This discovery immediately kickstarted an intense rollercoaster of treatment, including multiple surgeries, which continues to dominate the Lewis family’s life.

5-year-old Jenson Lewis is currently battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. Right he is pictured with siblings Ruby and Finlay/5-year-old Jenson Lewis is currently battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. Right he is pictured with siblings Ruby and Finlay/
5-year-old Jenson Lewis is currently battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. Right he is pictured with siblings Ruby and Finlay/ | submit

“It’s the news you never expect to hear,” his mum Sarah, a 40-year-old midwife said.

“It all happened very quickly once the tumour was discovered. The oncology and neurosurgical team at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital didn’t miss a beat - Jenson had 2 brain surgeries within a matter of days and the diagnosis confirmed within a week. They were amazing and made the most awful situation as bearable as possible. Jenson is strong willed, stubborn and strong enough to hopefully beat this awful disease and we can look forward to a future together as a family unit.”

The Preston-based family of five has been juggling constant to-ing and fro-ing to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and The Christie in Manchester for his essential treatments, while trying to maintain schooling and other day-to-day requirements for Jenson’s siblings, 16-year-old Ruby 14-year-old Finlay.  

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Left: playing video games in hospital with dad, Simon. Right: Jenson with his mum, Sarah.Left: playing video games in hospital with dad, Simon. Right: Jenson with his mum, Sarah.
Left: playing video games in hospital with dad, Simon. Right: Jenson with his mum, Sarah. | submit

This juggling has reached a new height recently as Jenson is currently staying at The Christie to undergo a one-off 30-day treatment of Proton Beam Radiotherapy, which cannot be repeated in the case of a relapse. He will then undergo 6-9 months chemotherapy in outpatient care.

His parents, Sarah and 48-year-old Simon, a telehandler for David Wilson Homes, are taking turns staying with their five-year-old and returning home to be with their other children - adding extra strain to the family unit, as they are rarely in the same place.

Jenson, who was recently diagnosed as autistic and offered a place at Oakfield House School, will have to face long-term effects of this treatment, including infertility and stunted growth.

In addition to any further treatments for the Medulloblastom, he will require hormone therapy as he grows, to combat the damaging effect of the radition to his brain and spine, which are expected to affect his cognition and processing abilities.

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Over recent months, Jenson has participated in a clinical trial which has seen him endure high dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant - while this isn’t standard treatment for Medulloblastoma, this trial allows for progress of the treatment for this devastating disease.

The ongoing treatment and related practicalities has forced both Sarah and Simon to take upaid leave, which has had a significant impact on their financial situation, adding extra stress to an already difficult situation. 

Left: Jenson with the hospital's therapy dog. Right: Getting a visit from Justin Fletcher (Mr Tumble).Left: Jenson with the hospital's therapy dog. Right: Getting a visit from Justin Fletcher (Mr Tumble).
Left: Jenson with the hospital's therapy dog. Right: Getting a visit from Justin Fletcher (Mr Tumble). | submit

Watching the situation unfold, childhood friend of Sarah, and fellow midwife, Victoria Gwin has launched a GoFundMe fundraiser to support the family.

In the summary, she explains that the money is being raised to allow Jenson’s parents to focus on supporting him through his treatment, and looking after their family as a whole, without worrying about finances

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Victoria said: “It's absolutely heartbreaking what the Lewis family are going through. Having to process receiving the initial diagnosis is devastating enough, and now they're seeing Jenson endure all the intense treatment side effects and the challenges in the future.”

“There is still a long road ahead with a lot of uncertainty,  which is why I created the GoFundMe campaign, so that with help and support, we can help the beautiful Lewis family financially so they can focus on Jenson's treatment and recovery and being a family again.”

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