A schoolboy went through ‘horrendous’ treatment for a brain tumour after doctors initially told him it was just a migraine. 

Jasper Lilley, from Wallington, was diagnosed with a type of brain tumour called medulloblastoma when he was five years old after suffering months of headaches.

The 12-year-old now stars in a poster appeal for Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People to mark Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which features his picture on display in the charity’s shop windows.

Jasper’s family is sharing his story to help raise vital awareness and funds for research.  

Jasper’s parents, Alice and Darren, understand all too well the importance of new discoveries and breakthroughs to help more children and young people survive cancer with a good quality of life.  

Alice had repeatedly taken him for checks at the optician, the GP and the hospital, but his condition was put down as a migraine, tonsillitis, and other minor illnesses.

Eventually, after worsening headaches, dizzy spells and sickness, a second eye test revealed a problem and a CT scan confirmed there was a mass in his brain.

He had two lots of surgery to relieve the build-up of fluid in his brain and then to remove the tumour.

He then had radiotherapy every day for six weeks, under general anaesthetic, followed by chemotherapy.

Mum Alice said Jasper is now well, clear of cancer and enjoying life with big aspirations for his future.

She added: “He still has some side effects from the radiotherapy but nothing really holds him back from what he wants to do. 

“Compared to what he was like then, he is so different. Sometimes I look back and it makes you appreciate where he is now.”

Alice said Jasper didn’t need any persuading to be in the posters.

“He was really happy to do them – the photoshoot took quite a while but he enjoyed it,” she added.

“He’s seen his poster in the shop windows and says he feels proud to be helping to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

“And of course, we’re really proud he’s part of this important campaign.

“He coped with years of treatment with real courage and strength.

“He doesn’t talk about it much but I once found some of his school work when he was about seven, where they had been asked to write about their heroes.

“He wrote: ‘I am my own hero because I had a brain tumour and I still came to school’.

“There was a time when we didn’t know if he would survive, so the fact that he is now in shop windows across the UK is amazing.”

Cancer Research UK’s work led to a new way of treating children with medulloblastoma.

The charity showed that adding chemotherapy to radiotherapy can improve the quality of life for children living with the disease.

Research such as this has helped to transform children's cancer survival in the UK, which has more than doubled.

People can support research to help save more lives by picking up a gold ribbon badge – the awareness symbol of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – available from Cancer Research UK shops during September, while stocks last. 

Cancer Research UK spokesperson for London, Lynn Daly, said: “We’re grateful to Jasper’s family for their support.

“Cancer in children and young people is different to cancer in adults – from the types of cancer to the impact of treatment and the long-term side effects survivors often experience.

“So, it needs different, dedicated research, that we’re grateful to people for helping to fund.”

Find out more at cruk.org/childrenandyoungpeople