Anthony was a warm,friendly boy who has a wonderful imagination. He loved to draw,write imaginative stories, read,watch films at home or at the cinema and enjoyed listening to all sorts of music. As a young boy he was great at imitating noises,voices and animal sounds. His favourite character's were Scar and Simba from the Lion King. This was his all time favourite film from childhood. He could imitate a lions roar exceptionally well. He would love to see lions and tigers up close and has his own collection of stuffed tigers and models.
He then became inspired by the Batman movies and collected the DC models and loved the joker character. He went to see the new Batman film, Batman Begins with his dad and brother Chandler,2008. He often wrote in his own comic book, aided by his vast imagination. School was important to him, attending when he could. He would often be seen walking there with his hands in his pockets.
He loved bands such as Aerosmith and Nickelback. His other great love was Doctor Who and has many toys,books and DVDs from series one to the latest, David Tennant his idol. He enjoyed watching the odd football match, fav team Celtic, basketball, swimming,cooking, science and would have loved to learn golf and horse riding. One of his favourite times of the year was Hawick Common Riding. He enjoyed life to the full, being out with mates and playing the Wii. He had aspirations to publish a book or comic strip, be a primary teacher or cook in a cafe.
Anthony was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma in February 2006,aged 10 years. They first thought it was Willms Tumour,a childrens type of kidney cancer,however he was diagnosed with renal cell, a rare adult type tumour in his right kidney. He had an operation to have the tumour removed which was encapsulated within his kidney. This was and is the first line of treatment for kidney cancer. No further medication is given as chemotherapy and radio therapy are non affective in the treatment of kidney cancer. When anthony was well enough from his operation we were sent home from the hospital. Time to recuperate. He was seen regularly for a year and was "clear of cancer" they thought, as no other tumours showed up on his regular chest xrays or ultrasounds.
Unfortunately after much discomfort with back ache, which he suffered off and on since his initial operation, an MRI in may 2007 confirmed his cancer had returned. They said at the time it was local re-occurance with in the renal bed affecting 3 ribs and in his psos muscle in his back above where his kidney was.
Treatment had to be researched. Thankfully the consultant found the drug Sutent. However the scottish medicines consortium were not allowing funding for the the NHS to give out this drug, as it was deemed non cost affective. Therefore our consultant had to apply for funding for this drug. Luckly funding was approved and Anthony started it on the first day of his summer holidays 2007.
Sutent was working well, initially shrinking the tumours and stopped them from growing for 14 months in total. He suffered some side affects, nausea, blisters on the soles of his feet, indigestion, aching muscles, changes in food likes/dislikes, mouth ulcers and his hair, eyebrows and eyelashes turned white as the drug altered the pigmentation of his hair follicles. He tolerated the drug well and was able to start and attend high school when not at the clinic or for check ups.
You may be aware that there had been news coverage of NICE , (England and Wales)at first stating that the drugs for kidney cancer were non cost affective and that they are not going to fund them with the NHS. This decision has been turned around and the medicines are granted for all patients in England and Wales,however Scotland is still considering the cost effectiveness of this drug. We were very lucky to have this drug approved for Anthony.
In March 2008 the hospital had initially thought the cancer had spread to the lungs and Anthony endured a lung biopsy. At this time the biopsy results revealed no signs of cancer. However it was discovered that nodes had shown up on 07 scan pictures. When compared to the 08 images there was no increase in size or quantity of nodes. Therefore it was neither proved or disproved that the cancer had spread to the lungs. Anthony was to continue with his sutent. He continued to do well with this treatment.
In August 2008 our consultant has found a new revolutionary drug for Anthony to try. It was called Everolimus. Again he was the first child to be given this medication. We were told that it was beneficial to start as Sutent had now began to become less affective and Anthony's tumours were growing slightly,with possible new developments/nodes in the lungs.
During December 2008, MRI scans showed that the tumours in his lungs were growing,as were all his other tumours. It was deemed necessary to increase the strength of medicine and his dose was doubled.
By early January 2009, Anthony was becoming increasingly unwell ,the medication made him anemic and very tired,he needed a blood transfusion. He had been suffering with a cough and bouts of chest infections since October 08 and these were being treated with antibiotics.
Anthony was given a blood transfusion on 16th January and given further tests. These tests revealed that his cancer was now terminal and had spread intensely into his right lung and this was the reason for his breathlessness, tiredness and cough. He was given months to live.
Anthony passed away peacefully with his family all around him at the BGH on Sunday the 8th February 2009 aged 13 years . His type of cancer is very rare in children, in fact it had never been treated before at the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh. He was the first to go through these treatments and if, god forbid, another child is diagnosed with RCC then Anthony's protocol will be there for reference.
Anthony touched so many lives in his short life. He has inspired some of our family and friends to raise much needed funding for cancer charities including a Yummy Mummy night with coffee and cake sale for Clic Sargent in September 2008, Walk the west highland way for Teenage Cancer Trust June 2009 and Race for life Southqueens Ferry May 2009 and Race for life Holyrood June 2010 for Cancer Research. All of which are close to our hearts. Anthony did a fundraiser for Royal Hospital for Sick Children by walking over the Forth Road Bridge in June 2008, which started our fundraising quest.