'You can't win them all': Schoolboy with terminal brain tumour amazes friends and family with his brave attitude to death
16-year-old has elected to stop having chemotherapy and hopes to make it to his school promDavid's mother says she has learnt how to cope thanks to her son's strengthChildren have the same risk of getting a brain tumour as getting meningitis
10:35 GMT, 22 June 2012
A schoolboy dying from a brain tumour has stunned his family with his bravery after responding to his terminal condition by saying: 'You can’t win them all.'
David Langton-Gilks, who is just 16, said he has accepted he is 'stuffed' following a five year battle against the disease.
Up until five weeks ago David thought he had beaten the Medulloblastoma tumour but relapsed an hour after posting a video on YouTube telling the world he was recovering.
David Langton-Gilks has decided he wants no more treatment after being told his brain tumour is terminal
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His parents, Sacha and Toby, took him to hospital where scans showed the cancer had returned and spread from his brain down his spine.
Doctors told the family the condition was now terminal and David and his parents decided not to prolong David’s pain and suffering by giving him more chemotherapy or radiation.
The teenager may have just weeks left to live and is focusing on making it to his school leavers prom on June 28.
David said: 'I’ve relapsed several times – but now I’m kind of stuffed. But hey, you can’t win them all.'
David, from Fontmell Magna, in Dorset, hasn’t been able to go to school for the past month because his short-term memory is so badly affected by the tumour. He also relies on 15 tablets a day to help with the pain.
His mother has launched an awareness campaign to highlight the importance of detecting brain tumours in children at an early stage.
David, pictured surfing in Cornwall. The trip was paid for by the charity Round Table Children's Wish Limited
Although David displayed the symptoms of the disease when he was 11, they were not simultaneous and it took five-and-half weeks to get a diagnosis.
Had 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.
has undergone several operations since the age of 11 to remove the
golf-ball sized tumour but has since suffered two relapses.
David's mother, Sacha Langton-Gilks. She said David has shown her how to cope by being so strong
He said: 'Before I was diagnosed I
was feeling really weird, sicky and getting really bad headaches. I
thought I was coming down with something.
'It came on so slow that it became like a normal thing.'
Langton-Gilks, a 44-year-old singing teacher, said: 'If I had realised
before he still would have had the cancer but the tumour would have been
half the size if I had got there first.
'His tumour was the size of a golf ball. He had two operations on it and then radiotherapy for six weeks alongside chemotherapy, followed by 48 weeks of combined chemotherapy.
'He has been so strong but we are in our fifth week now since we were told the cancer had come back in May.
means that next week is the sixth week which is usually the maximum
time, so it will be a miracle if he can make it to his prom.
'Just last month we thought
everything was alright, we had put the video on Youtube just an hour
before he had a Taekwondo lesson.
'He came home saying he couldn’t see properly and couldn’t remember anything.
'When he had scans a few days later it showed the cancer had come back, in his brain and down his spine.
'We sat there and David said ‘no more treatment’, then he was very quiet, children accept it much better than grown ups.
'Instead, I felt like the child, it
was horrible and very hard because what adults can’t deal with is them
being so honest and accepting.
taken the bad news extremely well and has all the way through, which is
typical David, when he has a terrible day he just says ‘that’s what
'He’s shown me how to cope, you think it would be the other way round but not at all, he is so strong.
things are hard, he is deteriorating and is very upset that he can’t
remember how to play his guitar, so he is spending time cooking and
playing games with family.'
Symptoms of brain tumours. For more information visit ww.headsmart.org.uk
Children have the same risk of developing a brain tumour as meningitis, and Mrs Langton-Gilks is now campaigning to make other parents more aware.
She is hoping to get small cards made by Headsmart, a charity promoting brain tumour awareness, in every school across the country, listing symptoms to look out for.
She said: 'If I had known the symptoms I would have been able to get him to hospital about three weeks earlier.
'The risk of children getting a brain tumour is the same as getting meningitis, yet parents can’t spot brain tumours.
'That’s why I’m campaigning to get Headsmart cards with the symptoms listed on them placed in schools all over the country.'
Mrs Langton-Gilks lives with her husband, a 46-year-old music composer, and their two other children Rufus, 14, and Holly, nine.
For more information about brain tumours visit www.headsmart.org.uk
Lockwood – a friend of Toby Langton-Gilks is leading a team that is raising money for Round
Table Children's Wish Limited. The charity paid for David to have a surfing holiday. You can view his fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Lockwood2