Lowestoft teenager’s ‘gift’ of hope

THE family of a Lowestoft teenager who has been lauded for his courage in his battle against life-threatening illness have this week issued a heartfelt Christmas message - thanking people for helping him through a traumatic year.

After spending the past 11 months in treatment for brain and spinal cancer, 15-year-old Rory Davies is finally 'on the road to recovery' and enjoying the festive season at home, preparing for his return to school next month.

The Benjamin Britten High School pupil - who has won accolades for his martial arts skills as a member of the Lowestoft Kuk Sool Won club - has endured a number of operations, as well as numerous courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but in the past few weeks his parents Lisa and Andy received an early Christmas gift, when a scan showed the disease was 'inactive'.

Mrs Davies said Rory still faced more physiotherapy and medical checks but the news was a welcome boost, and praised the support of 'everyone locally' for their support, fundraising and messages of goodwill that had helped Rory though the year.

'We would like to thank Gunton Hall who have been so very kind in giving Rory and my husband a free pass to use their swimming pool so Rory can build up his strength,' she said. 'We'd also like to thank the Rays of Sunshine charity for sick children, who arranged for a Manson guitar to be delivered. It arrived last week and it's an early Christmas treat, so thanks also to Manson guitars for donating it.'

She added: 'Special thanks must also go to Benjamin Britten High School who have been so supportive and accommodating, the James Paget Hospital who have been amazing, the Oscar Reynolds charity who have made a couple of generous donations to Rory during the last year and also the dad of Rory's friend Elle Tillett, Jason Tillett, who raised �500 for Rory doing the Scores Race.'

The family would use this money to take Rory on a deserved trip to Center Parcs 'as soon as he is strong enough to enjoy it', she said.

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'Rory's friends have also been brilliant,' Mrs Davies added. 'A group of them have consistently visited him for the last 11 months and kept his spirits up - they have been so, so good. The kindness of everyone has really touched us...People we didn't know even delivered gifts to our door and said 'can we leave this for Rory?' It was amazing.'

The Journal revealed in July Rory had been diagnosed with tumours in his brain and spine in the first week of February. He spent six weeks in isolation at the Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge in August for treatment on a higher dose of chemotherapy.

His mum Lisa recalled this week how Rory had become 'very poorly' during this time in hospital. 'It was a really brutal regime of intense chemotherapy, and in that time Rory battled against infection after infection, which meant he was moved into intensive care,' she said.

'But determined as ever, Rory beat the infections and having now finished his treatment he is now building himself up at home and is doing really well..His last scan showed that the disease is inactive, which is all it needs to be for Rory to recover.

'He is currently having physiotherapy to help him regain his strength and although he cannot return to school until after Christmas he is keeping himself busy at home,' she said.

Having been honoured in June this year with a presitgious second-degree black belt in Kuk Sool Won, Rory says he 'wants to go back to Kuk Sool' as soon as he is able. Meanwhile, having been nominated for the Suffolk Sport Awards by Lowestoft Kuk Sool Won's owner Martin Ducker, Rory has also received a 'Highly Commended' certificate in the Triumph Over Adversity category.

For now, his mum said, Rory is simply looking forward to getting back to 'a bit of normality' when he returns to school next month.

'Rory is just happy he can go to school and participate again,' Mrs Davies said. 'But the best present of all is having Rory back home with us and we are going all out to make it a great one and an even better new year. There is still a long way to go in his recovery, but Rory is doing what he always does - giving everything 100pc. He is a real credit to himself!'