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Member of the Month October 2023

Freddie Mcintosh-Brown

Life has taken an unexpected turn for Freddie and his family since his diagnosis at the end of June 2023. What began as a series of visits to doctors and emergency rooms for what seemed like routine illnesses—tonsillitis, sinusitis, hay fever—eventually led to a life-altering discovery. Today, we want to shine a light on Freddie, our Member of the Month, who has shown extraordinary strength and resilience in the face of adversity.

Freddie’s journey took a harrowing turn when his breathing deteriorated, and sleep apnea symptoms appeared. A visit to Broomfield A&E revealed a bulging palette, setting off alarm bells. Little did Freddie’s family know that this seemingly innocuous observation would send them on a journey through one of life’s darkest nightmares. Freddie was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for surgery to remove what was initially thought to be a cyst. However, after the operation, the surgeon had a different story to tell. They had de-bulked a ‘mass,’ and two weeks later Freddie received his heartbreaking diagnosis: rhabdomyosarcoma nasopharyngeal soft tissue cancer.

Telling a child that they have cancer is an experience that no parent should ever have to go through. The weight of that moment haunts Freddie’s family to this day. But amidst the darkness, they discovered a shining light in Freddie’s unwavering spirit and resilience.

Freddie’s cancer journey has been challenging to say the least. He underwent surgery to have a double lumen Hickman inserted for blood tests and treatment, followed by his first round of chemotherapy in July. His cancer, an aggressive form of soft tissue cancer, demanded a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, presenting a difficult road ahead.

During his second round of chemotherapy, Freddie lost his hair, a poignant moment in his journey. However, this courageous young soul quickly realised that hair does not define who he is. With or without hair, Freddie oozes charm and cheekiness, proving that his strength lies far beyond appearances.

Today, Freddie is about to undergo his fifth round of chemotherapy, with an upcoming operation to insert a feeding peg scheduled for October 6th. Subsequently, his radiotherapy journey begins on October 11th, consisting of five days a week for six weeks. Given the location of his cancer, swallowing difficulties and discomfort are expected, making the feeding peg necessary.

While Freddie’s path is filled with challenges, his family remains hopeful. Freddie’s cancer is curable, and they carry the hope that brighter days lie ahead. Their little superhero Freddie is the embodiment of courage, inspiration, and love. He’s endured so much in such a short time, losing his independence and learning to follow instructions as he battles his illness.

Freddie’s mantra since the day of his diagnosis has been clear: “I’m going to kick cancer’s butt!” With his indomitable spirit and his family’s unwavering support, there is no doubt that he will.

One remarkable aspect of Freddie’s journey are his Beads of Courage. These beads symbolise where he started, where he’s going, and the achievements he’s accomplished throughout his cancer journey. Each bead represents a milestone, a special accomplishment, a reminder of the strength and resilience that Freddie embodies.

As Freddie’s family navigates this rollercoaster of a journey, they, and all who know Freddie’s story, are reminded of the incredible power of the human spirit and the determination to overcome even the most formidable challenges. Freddie’s courage and his family’s unwavering support serve as an inspiration to us all.

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