Parents of toddler with brain tumour bring forward wedding after being told he has just months to live
Young Riley first fell ill at Christmas and was diagnosed with a brain tumour in AprilInitially doctors say boy had a virus but tumour discovered after parents went back a few weeks later
12:59 GMT, 24 July 2012
Gavin Plant and Lindsay Carrington have brought forward their wedding to that their son Riley can take part
The parents of an 18-month-old who has an untreatable brain tumour have brought their wedding forward four months so their little boy can be a page boy before he dies.
Riley Plant has been battling a grade-four tumour since he was diagnosed in April, but last week doctors told his parents Gavin Plant and Lindsay Carrington that his condition is terminal.
The couple, from Burnholme, North Yorkshire, say the news has 'crushed and devastated them', and want to make the time Riley has left special – starting with him being page boy at their wedding.
They are also raising funds to take him on a dream holiday to Disneyland Paris.
Father Gavin, 24, a private with the Royal Signals, said: 'We're trying to cram as much into the weeks he has left so that he's happy, and so we have some good memories – because memories are all we'll have after he's gone.'
He and fiancee Lindsay, 25, first noticed that Riley was unwell at Christmas, when he starting being sick, but they put it down to his feeding. In the next few months, they noticed he was wobbling around a lot, and being sick. They took him to their GP who told them Riley had a virus.
Two weeks before Easter Riley stopped walking because he was so weak. They took him to nearby York Hospital, where again they were reassured it was just a virus.
Unconvinced, after Easter they returned to the hospital, where a CT Scan revealed a tumour on Riley's brain.
On April 17, surgeons at Leeds General Infirmary operated on little Riley – but unfortunately they could not remove a small part of the tumour.
Riley was started on chemotherapy three weeks later, and doctors tested his spine and brain fluid which was found to be clear of cancer.
Grandma Simone, 42, said: 'Little Riley was very poorly during the chemo. Every side-effect you could think of, he got. He lost his spark, it was really hard to watch.
'It was a very tough time for the whole family, watching Riley being so poorly.'
Riley, left, before he became unwell, and right, during treatment
Despite the family's hopes that Riley would pull through, at the beginning of July doctors found a shadow on the back of his neck during an MRI scan.
Although they could not confirm it was a tumour, they told the family that it was a cluster of cells which could develop into a tumour. They also tested his brain and spinal fluid again – and devastatingly found that it was riddled with cancer.
Simone, who runs a beauty salon, said: 'Unfortunately last Thursday the doctors told us that there was nothing more they could do, and they were going to stop the treatment.
'They've told us to make the most of being with him, to do what he can do before he gets too ill.'
The family are planning to take Riley on two caravan holidays, to Cadbury World, as well as a dream holiday to Disneyland Paris with the help of Yorkshire Children's charity Make a Dream.
Surgeons at Leeds General Infirmary could not remove all of Riley's brain tumour
Family and friends have been generous in their donations, raising 5,000 so far, but the family are still intent on raising more to make sure their little 'Smiley Riley' can live life to the full.
Doctors have not been able to put a time on his life, Simone explained, adding: 'They said it could be weeks or months. But they said Riley had done well to live this long with his tumour.
'They said if it was an adult, they wouldn't have lived this long, but because Riley's skull is soft the tumour has been able to grow so much.'
Lindsay, who already has two girls, Ebony, eight, and five-year-old Kelsy, has managed to get her wedding dress made in time and the photographer, cars and venue – the Pavilion Hotel in Fulford – were rearranged when they decided to bring the wedding forward.
Gavin said: 'We are just devastated – it's like our whole world has been crushed.
'It feels like we are in a bubble, we're just trying to get on with things as best we can and keep ourselves busy.
'Riley's nothing like he was before he was diagnosed and he never will be again, but since he finished his chemotherapy he has been much happier – smiling and dancing – he loves to dance.
'But his condition will only get worse. Every day we see him getting a little bit weaker and it's heartbreaking.
'We just want him to be at the wedding – it wouldn't be special if he wasn't there.'
For more information or to donate to the Smiley Riley Fund, visit www.smileyrileyfund.co.uk