In loving memory of Oscar Lymer

Beautiful Oscar passed away at the age of three from high-risk neuroblastoma.Oscar looking into the camera during treatment

His family shared on Facebook:

“I am heartbroken to say that we lost our beautiful baby bear today. The world is a much sadder place. Our love for each other will live on forever.”

Our love and thoughts are with Oscar’s family, always.

Oscar’s story

Oscar was a very happy three-year-old who loved being big brother to his twin brother and sister. His favourite things were Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and popping bubbles.

But when he was only 18 months old he was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma. His next 18 months were spent in intensive treatment – chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell recovery, radiotherapy and finally immunotherapy as part of a UK clinical trial. Oscar responded well but by February 2018 scans confirmed his cancer had come back. 

Up until the age of one Oscar was a happy healthy baby but after his birthday he started to become poorly. Around the same time, he began going to a child-minder so his mum and dad put the extra sickness bugs down to him being around other children more. However, they kept taking him to the doctors, only to leave each time feeling re-assured at being told that it was just a bug.

Over the next few months, Oscar went through patches of being ill and off his food but then would seem to recover again. He became increasingly clingy, wanting to be carried more and his child-minder mentioned that he seemed reluctant to walk. But his younger twin brother and sister (George and Emily) had just been born, early at 32 weeks, and needed a lot of attention.

Oscar’s mum, Lucy, says: “We assumed that Oscar’s change in behaviour was regression or a reaction to having the babies in the house. Looking back there were so many warning signs, including night sweats which unfortunately we weren’t aware could be a sign of childhood cancer. Oscar would wake each morning with his hair drenched despite the fan being on. It was only in the final weeks leading to diagnosis that his tummy began to look distended.”

His parents returned to the doctors in July 2016, the GP recognised something was wrong and immediately referred Oscar to Hinchingbrooke Hospital where an ultrasound was performed that afternoon. A large tumour was found in his abdomen, followed by, a secondary tumour in his neck later.

Lucy adds: “I remember not being concerned at all about the scan until he was lying on the bed and I immediately thought ‘what if they find something serious?’ Returning to the ward I knew something was wrong when the doctor kept insisting I eat my tea and then we would talk. I knew this meant that whatever news she was going to deliver would mean I wouldn’t want to eat once I knew. I still wasn’t prepared for the news cancer.”

Oscar was transferred by ambulance to Addenbrookes Hospital that evening and tests began the next day. After a couple of weeks, doctors confirmed that he had stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma.

Lucy says:

“I was basically in a state of grief for the first few days, convinced that we would lose Oscar and crying whenever anyone came near him or touched him.”

Oscar’s treatment began immediately: a very intensive 18-month plan of chemotherapy, 12-hour surgery, stem cell recovery, radiotherapy and finally immunotherapy. Oscar coped very well with treatment taking everything in his stride, and his parents were relieved to see their happy child finally returning.

But despite everyone being hopeful as Oscar was so well at the end of treatment, his routine scans in January 2018 showed a change in his disease and the doctors suspected a relapse. At the same time, Oscar broke his femur – his bones were probably weakened by his treatment – and his parents had to wait until his cast came off to perform a biopsy. This was done on the 26 February and confirmed what Oscar’s parents had feared, that the tumour was still active.

Oscar started treatment on the Beacon clinical trial at Manchester Children’s Hospital but unfortunately, by the end of April his parents found out that he was not responding to the treatment.

He sadly passed away on the 15th of October 2018.

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