Always remembering


William was skilled in many things, and he would often be found in the kitchen where his creativity and natural flair for cooking were easy to see. An avid Marvel Movies fan, William also had a passion for gaming – dragons and Minecraft in particular.

William’s story  

William was a typical 12-year-old boy – he loved computer games, Power Rangers and dragons. A fun day for William would involve playing on the trampoline with his sister, Elspeth and best friends, a family bike ride joined by his black Labrador, Annie, and creating a world on Minecraft Multiplayer.  

When William was four years old, he was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma. He received intensive treatment to fight it over nine years. He achieved remission twice but also relapsed three times. 

In the month leading up to William’s diagnosis, he had been waking in the night sweating and seemed to be having painful dreams. Following a series of tests, Gillian and Douglas were told the devastating news – their son had high-risk neuroblastoma. They questioned “every dimension of this universe as to how and why a small child could get this dreadful disease…” 

"A mother and father’s love for their child has to be the most tremendous force. From the depths of misery, we will scale walls, fight ferocious beasts and defend and protect our most sacred being… our child. We no longer ask how and why. Instead, we use every ounce of our energy to help William fight this aggressive disease."

William’s parents, Douglas and Gillian

William started frontline treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne – Gillian’s family are from a small seaside town in Victoria. While William was treated in Australia, his sister was looked after by her Aussie Grandmother and Douglas had to continue to work in the UK. It was difficult for all the family, but Douglas knew that his children were receiving the best care and support. 

William responded very well to his treatment and was in complete remission after the initial chemotherapy. He then had a transplant, radiotherapy and immunotherapy. After immunotherapy, the family came back to the UK and for the next three years, childhood and growing up took a front seat. However, regular scans and physical and psychological issues reminded them of past traumas. 

Then, following a routine scan, the family were spiralled back into the nightmare. William had relapsed. “How can we go through all that treatment again? Do we have the energy?” questioned Gillian and Douglas. 

William started receiving chemotherapy again and did eight cycles of Cyclophosphamide and Topotecan. To the amazement of his family and his consultants, he went back into remission after the third cycle alone. He then had eight cycles of Temozolomide.

"Perhaps too much of one drug and not too many other options. William relapsed once more. At this stage, we knew we had to seek options outside the NHS."

Douglas, William’s dad

He regained remission and took “a large leap across the pond” to New York for the bivalent vaccine clinical trial at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. 

He received four out of the seven vaccines and the family returned to the UK for their reassessment scans, but devastatingly they showed his disease had returned. It meant that William no longer met the protocol criteria and had to come off the vaccine trial. 

The family were supported by their clinicians in both the UK and the US to research treatment options. They travelled to Barcelona where William received Hu3f8 antibody treatment at the Sant Joan de Deu Children’s Hospital – the aim to detect and destroy neuroblastoma cells that have survived chemotherapy or radiation therapy. 

The treatment had some effect, but a decision was taken to return to state-of-the-art treatment in the UK. 

William passed away in September 2019. 

"William battled every day for more than nine years, fighting the horrible and aggressive disease we know and despise - neuroblastoma. We miss him so much, but we know he is at peace."

Douglas, William’s dad

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A donation in memory of William, will help precious children and young people like him and their families.

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Donations made in loving memory of children 

Funds raised in loving memory of William will be used to support other children like William and their families through Solving Kids' Cancer UK's activities. Any funds raised through a previous fundraising campaign for access to treatment which were not spent on the child's treatment and pastoral needs are used to support other children and families through Solving Kids' Cancer UK's activities.

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Donated on: 19th December 2019

This money is from Bramley where William lived and is the contents of collection box number P955. Sue O'C


Donated on: 15th August 2019

Previous donations to Solving Kids' Cancer