On June 13th 2001 with virtually no prior symptoms, Sebastian was diagnosed with a Wilm’s tumour, a large cancerous mass the size of a rugby ball on his right kidney. Subsequent tests, at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, revealed secondary tumours on both lungs. Sebastian began immediate radical chemotherapy to shrink the size of the primary tumour and in August underwent surgery to remove the tumour and the diseased kidney. Follow-up chemotherapy and radiotherapy over the next six months resulted in a very positive response and Sebastian was officially in remission in February 2002.
At a routine check-up in September Sebastian’s cancer was evident once again in both lungs. Throughout the next nine months. Sebastian endured gruelling rounds of chemotherapy which invariably left him isolated in hospital because the risk of infection. In March 2003 Sebastian underwent high dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton. In May Sebastian’s Hickman line was removed and again he was officially in remission.
Just seven weeks later, on the eve of a much needed family holiday, came the phone call that once again devastated Sebastian’s family; Sebastian’s cancer had again been detected in both lungs. Over the next three months Sebastian received daily chemotherapy and endured two operations on his lungs to remove as much of the tumours as possible. Although the first operation on Sebastian’s right lung was incredibly successful and resulted in Sebastian literally skipping out of hospital some four days after surgery, the second operation on his left lung was a completely different experience. Sebastian encountered terrible breathing difficulties and never really recovered from the second lung operation. A CT scan taken three weeks after the last operation showed that once again the tumours had reappeared in Sebastian’s left lung and were growing at an alarmingly aggressive pace.
On December 15th Sebastian attended the CLIC Christmas party at 11 Downing Street. This was Sebastian’s first day of being totally dependant on oxygen and he found this occasion to be something of an ordeal. From Downing Street Sebastian went with his family to Helen House Hospice, where they planned to spend three days together. Sebastian’s condition deteriorated rapidly during this time and despite a further operation to drain his lungs he continued to encounter breathing difficulties. In the early hours of Christmas Eve 2003, surrounded by his parents and adoring sister Rebecca, Sebastian died peacefully in his sleep.
Sebastian’s funeral was held at his local parish church on 3rd January 2004, only six weeks since he had been confirmed there. Sebastian’s friends and family celebrated the life of a beautiful boy that touched the lives of all he met in his all too brief time.