A journalist has spoken out for the first time about the loss of his nine-year-old son to cancer in a bid to raise awareness of the disease.
Saul Chapman, son of Trinity Mirror group development director Toby Chapman, died in September 2014 after an 11-month battle with a rare form of cancer that affected just 15 people in the UK between 1985 and 2009.
Saul was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer in October 2013 and died just under a year later.
Toby, from Helmshore in Lancashire, has written in the Manchester Evening News about how his son “showed bravery beyond his years” even after his condition proved to be untreatable. And of how he died with his parents by his side.
He wrote: “It might sound strange but I often think how lucky we were to remain at home and care for Saul ourselves in the last weeks and days.
“And how lucky we were that he called us right at the end and for him not to be alone when he passed. I firmly believe he knew what was going to happen and made sure we were there.
“He never gave up, right until the end.”
Toby writes that research and funding into childhood cancer “is woeful in comparison to adult conditions”.
“Medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies always cite the same reasons – that childhood cancer is too rare and as a result there are too few cases to conduct meaningful clinical trials and also probably hardest to take of all – that there isn’t enough return on investment.
“Yes. The life of your nine-year-old son simply isn’t worth it.”
Toby and Deborah Chapman have set up a fundraising page in memory of their son with the Children’s Cancer & Leukaemia Group Charity to help fund vital research into rare childhood cancers.