George Fox was just 12 years old when he was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in April last year.
After a failed bid to receive pioneering treatment in America, he died with his family by his side last night.
Announcing his death on their Go Fund Me page his parents Louise and Matt said: “As parents these are the most difficult words we will ever have to write.
“We are absolutely devastated to share that our beautiful Gorgeous George slipped away peacefully last night at 11.45pm, 12th April 2022 with Mum, Dad, Jamie & Issy by his side telling him just how much we loved him and that it was fine to rest.
“We are heartbroken, and always will be. We can’t imagine our pain ever going away, and we don’t want it to, it’s testament to how much we love our little boy.”
After George’s diagnosis, a fundraising campaign, Gorgeous George, One Big Fight, inspired the local community and beyond to raise more than £482,000 to pay for treatment.
Sadly, he was unable to take part in a planned clinical trial in Los Angeles after his condition deteriorated on the flight out. His stay in intensive care whilst in America saw him rack up medical bills worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars, covered in part by generous crowdfunding donations. The family returned to England in January.
His parents said: “From the moment George bounced into our lives on 15th November 2008, he brought so much joy and happiness to our family. Always smiling, always happy, a real cheeky chap. George is the best son, big brother, little brother, Grandson, Nephew, cousin and friend – we speak for the entire Fox / Firth family when we say how much he love brought to us all.
“Gorgeous inside and out, those that know George will know that he is loyal, kind, sensitive, hilarious, bright and wise beyond his years. What we didn’t know is just how amazingly brave and strong he is, and we wish we hadn’t had to find that out. We don’t feel like George has lost his fight with cancer, because there is no cancer now and he is out of pain and at peace… so George has won that battle too.
“We had just 13 years and five months of George, but we all agree we would rather have had that time than not have George at all. That’s 4,896 days with our amazing son… no amount of days would ever be enough.
“George has fought with strength and courage and we know he did that for us because inside he must have been so scared but never showed it. He showed us how to be brave and how to fight, and that's what has got us through this horrific year.
“George was thoughtful to the end, and in his final hours he told us that ‘he loved us all’ and that ‘he didn’t have much time’ and to ‘look after his Guinea Pigs’. He made us smile up until the very end.
“We will miss him every minute of the rest of our lives until we are with him again, which we know we will be. We thank you all for surrounding our boy with love and support.”
Since George’s diagnosis, he and his family have become passionate supporters of the charity Brain Tumour Research, campaigning for more funds for vital research into brain tumours.
Louise added: “We’ve learned more from George in the last 11 months than we have in our entire lifetime and will make sure we keep his name alive, continuing to fight the battle against brain tumours and glioblastoma so his young life hasn’t been cruelly ended early in vain. We know that is what he would want as he always put others before himself.”
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Hugh Adams, head of stakeholder relations at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Our hearts go out to George’s family following this awful loss. Sadly, his story is all too familiar in the brain tumour community and we will continue to fight for better treatment options for patients and, ultimately, a cure.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is the driving force behind the call for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.
Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK singularly focused on finding a cure for brain tumours through campaigning for an increase in the national investment into research to £35 million per year, while fundraising to create a sustainable network of brain tumour research centres in the UK.
To find out more about Brain Tumour Research, visit www.braintumourresearch.org