A “happy-go-lucky” young boy whose toothache turned out to be a rare form of cancer is putting on a remarkably brave face throughout his chemotherapy treatment.
When Ethan Adams, 8, began suffering from a pain in his mouth, his family assumed it was a dental problem and took him to get some fillings put in.
But the sensation persisted and was later worsened by the appearance of a lump on the roof of his mouth.
After several trips to the dentist Ethan was referred to hospital for further tests, where he and his family received the devastating news that it was in fact a tumour.
Doctors also told the family that the cancer tragically spread to the youngster’s spine, lungs and bone marrow.
In December last year, Ethan was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma – a rare type of cancer that forms in soft tissue.
But his dad says he’s “never complained once” and is battling the gruelling disease with fighting spirit.
Ethan’s dad Mark, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, said : “It was awful news.
“It was a huge surprise but thankfully he has been undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
“He was just a normal, happy go lucky kid and then all of a sudden we were surprised at how quick it gripped him because within a couple of weeks he was turned very poorly.
“He is a very sociable character, always has a smile on his face and he keeps everybody going. He’s like the life and soul of everything. Whenever he’s not around it’s quite dull.
“He’s done really well, he’s never complained once. He’s faced everything head on and been so brave and just got on with it.”
Ethan was receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the same time and he successfully finished both treatments two weeks ago.
But the intense treatments have now taken their toll on the little fighter, leaving him with temporary inflammation on his brain.
From sleeping over 10 hours a day to constantly being sick, brave Ethan is now strongly battling through the side effects of his treatments.
He even managed to give a thumbs up to the camera while he recovered from the gruelling aftermath in hospital.
During this challenging time, Ethan’s parents Mark and Tracey have received lots of support from Children Cancer North.
Dad-of-three Mark added: “The charity has been great.
“They are unsung heroes because a lot of people are involved in different things that have helped keep Ethan going.”
As part of the charity’s work, a group of children including Ethan got together with a local author, Jenny Pearson, to write a poem about their experience of the disease.
The poem is titled “The Bell,” a reference to the bell patients ring on their hospital ward at the end of their cancer treatment.
“The words have got a lot of meaning because once you ring the bell it’s all over and want to start your new life and nothing’s going to beat you,” Mark added.
Chris Peacock, chairman of Children’s Cancer North, battled cancer as a child and has dedicated his life to helping to support youngsters with the disease.
He said: “I know first-hand how difficult life is both as a patient, and for parents and siblings.
“It is what drives me and the charity to make life better for those going through now what I and my family did 40 years ago.”