Schoolboy who amazed everyone with his brave attitude to terminal
brain tumour dies – and leaves his jellybeans to his little sister
16-year-old managed to go to his school prom where he won award for 'Most Optimistic Person'
David's mother praises Marie Curie nurses who provided nighttime relief in final weeks
Brain tumours kill more children than meningitis or leukaemia
16:06 GMT, 14 August 2012
A schoolboy who stunned his family with his bravery after he was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour, has died this morning.
David Langton-Gilks, 16, who battled the disease for five years, had thought he had beaten the tumour in May this year. When he was told he had relapsed and would die in a matter of weeks, he stunned his relations by saying: 'You can’t win them all.'
David slipped into a coma last Saturday and died at 6.10am today – six weeks after
doctors expected him to pass away.
'He died surrounded by love at home,' his mother Sacha, who is a singing teacher, said.
Special evening: David was thrilled with the black limousine that arrived to take him to his school prom
David Langton-Gilks, earlier this year with the family dog Honey
She also revealed on
Twitter she found her son's will a few days before he died. He wanted
his things to be shared between his siblings, Rufus and Holly, with his
collection of jellybeans to go to his younger sister. His ukulele was to
go to a family friend.
David was told at the beginning of June his condition was terminal and decided that he didn't want further chemotherapy.
However, he was desperate to make his
school prom on June 28. His mother Sacha, 44, was able to tell friends
and supporters on Twitter that he fulfilled his ambition.
'DD's DONE it! Grinning in black tie by pristine black limo on our dirty, bumpy farm track,' she posted that evening.
The limo was provided by the charity
Rays of Sunshine and marked the start of a very special night, during
which David won the award for 'Most Optimistic Person.'
Mrs Langton-Gilk's Twitter updates also revealed David's wish to be cremated and have his ashes scattered at a local watering hole.
She also paid tribute to his extraordinary philosophical attitude to life. The day after his prom he told her: 'It's funny how u (sic) realise the significance of your life just when you're about to lose it.'
Later that day he said to his parents, Sacha, 44 and Toby, 46: 'I just want to say that I have very much enjoyed myself here; thank you very much.'
David, pictured surfing in Cornwall. The trip was paid for by the charity Round Table Children's Wish Limited
The teenager, from Fontmell Magna, in
Dorset, had stopped going to school in May due to concentration problems
caused by the tumour and said his only regret was not being able to do
his Biology A level.
His memory worsened as time went on which meant he had to replace reading and playing the guitar with simpler tasks such as cooking.
But he still shared precious
exchanges with his family. His mother said his little sister would insist David play
with her saying: 'You can rest when you're dead.'
David's mother, Sacha Langton-Gilks. She said David had shown her how to cope by being so strong
Then on 6 August, she recounted
another bittersweet conversation: 'DD 2 me: “Do I know u” Me: “Yes, very well.” DD:
“You look very like my mother.” Me: “Yes I certainly do. She's
The family were helped by Marie Curie nurses who provided much-needed nighttime relief and other support. They were also boosted by how well Team GB did at the Olympics, providing a much-needed distraction.
Mrs Langton-Gilks and her family are backing the Headsmart awareness campaign run by The Brain Tumour Charity, to highlight the importance
of detecting brain tumours in children at an early stage.
Although David displayed the symptoms
of the disease when he was 11, they were not simultaneous and it took
five-and-a-half weeks to get a diagnosis.
it been detected sooner, the tumour would have been around half the
size it was and David would have stood a much better chance of survival.
The symptoms of the Medulloblastoma brain tumour include vomiting, headaches, and unusual eye movements. Children have the same risk of developing a brain tumour as meningitis.
David's parents released a statement today that said: 'The Langton-Gilks family are determined that everyone knows how to spot the signs of a brain tumour in a child/young person.
'Supporting the HeadSmart Campaign is the fastest way to achieve this. This will save the lives of some of the two coachloads of children who die horribly every year from a brain tumour and massively improve the quality of life for those children, like David, who have to endure years of complex treatment.'
They added: 'The family will never be able to express fully their gratitude & admiration to all of the doctors, nurses & support staff at Southampton General Hospital, Salisbury District Hospital & Shaftesbury Abbeyview Medical Centre as well as the following charities: CLICSargent, Marie Curie, the Teenage Cancer Trust and The Brain Tumour Charity who started HeadSmart.'
Symptoms of brain tumours. For more information visit ww.headsmart.org.uk
Sarah Lindsell, CEO, The Brain Tumour Charity, said: 'We are so sad that David died this morning. Over the past few months he has inspired so many people with the help of his mum, Sacha. Together they have helped us raise UK-wide awareness about the symptoms of brain tumours in children and young people through the HeadSmart campaign.
'His approach to his condition has touched thousands of people and we have had wishes of support from around the world. DD’s legacy will live on through the HeadSmart campaign. Our thoughts are with David’s family and friends at this time.'
For more information about brain tumours visit www.headsmart.org.uk
Details of how you can donate to the Brain Tumour Charity's campaign can be viewed by clicking here