Michelle, Luke's mother, shares his story.
Luke, from Penzance, Cornwall, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in November 2010. He had been suffering from leg pain for months but ourselves and local GP nurses put it down to a sports injury before a scan revealed the disease. Luke was a keen rugby player.
In December Luke began his first protocol of chemotherapy at Bristol Children's Hospital and by March was admitted to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, as the decision had been made to amputate his right leg above the knee. At the time doctors said this would give Luke the best possible chance of the cancer not returning. He was playing pool in his wheelchair and walking around the ward with a frame the day after the operation, which was amazing. Luke continued to feel some pain in his left knee and right shoulder and we all expressed these concerns to medical staff. After some delay from Bristol Hospital, it was confirmed that the osteosarcoma had spread to other parts of Luke's body including his left knee, right shoulder, wrist, pelvis, spine and lung. Although we were all devastated by this news, the following morning Luke attended his physiotherapy appointment and persevered with walking on his new leg. His courage never failed to astonish me.
In June 2011, Luke started his second protocol of treatment at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske, Truro. In-between cycles of chemotherapy Luke was determined to live life to the full. Despite his situation, he was taking flying lessons and we visited Paris and Disney thanks to the Starlight Foundation. In July, for his 15th birthday, we went to the Isles of Scilly by helicopter as part of the weekend of celebrations. The whole family got together for a birthday dinner. Luke enjoyed these special occasions even though at this point he needed strong and regular pain killers. A very proud moment for the family was when Luke gave his aunt Linda away at her wedding to John Bolton in October. He wore his prosthetic leg and walked her down the aisle. He didn't complain about the pain, he didn't complain about anything.
In November when the cancer was shown to have progressed even further, Luke began a third treatment protocol, including a drug called Mifamurtide. The family had been fighting for this drug since April when they heard about it through BCRT, but unfortunately it was eventually granted too late. A specialist Oxford panel agreed its use on compassionate grounds in the hope that it would give Luke a better quality of life. After numerous trips to theatre due to pneumonia and Luke needing a chest drain, he again went to theatre, later in November, to have an intrathecal line tunnelled under his skin from his shoulder to his lower spine where anaesthetic could be administered directly on to his spinal cord and nerves because of the pain Luke was in due to the growing tumours. Luke was then moved to a local hospice for a couple of weeks for some much needed rest and recuperation. The hospice provided homemade meals which Luke thoroughly enjoyed.
On 10th December , Luke celebrated an early Christmas. His favourite presents were his many Nerf guns, which shoot foam bullets. All who came into his room would get shot, which caused much laughter. On the real Christmas Day he had the strength to open just a few presents, with the rest of his gifts left wrapped. At 6am on the January 3rd, Luke passed away peacefully with myself, his sister Hannah, his Dad and one of his favourite nurses by his bed side.
Luke's funeral was attended by over 250 people. The Royal Navy, and Luke's flying instructor also showed their respect and marked the occasion, staging a fly past in a Merlin helicopter and Cessna 174. Luke would have been very proud that, as he requested, his dad and fellow members of the Metropolitan Police acted as bearers in uniform.