Terminally ill boy (11) uses Facebook to tell friends he quit treatment
For most, Facebook is a way to chat with friends and share photographs – but for Reece Puddington (11) it was a place to express a more momentous message.
The boy, who has had cancer for more than half of his life, used a status update to announce he had decided to refuse potentially life-prolonging drugs in order to accept his fate and make the most of his final days, at home with his family.
He told friends that he could no longer face the demands of gruelling treatment and wished to let "nature take its course".
He wrote: "My mum had always hoped over the last five to six years that she would have the courage to know when enough was enough. After careful consideration, my mum thought that if she was doing it for herself she would keep sending me for treatment as she wouldn't want to let me go, but if she was doing it for me she'd let me go. Well, she's letting me go?..."
Reece, from, Kent, England, was diagnosed in 2008 with neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system. His updates on his condition on Facebook have attracted a growing following.
Posting last Thursday, "The Beginning of the End", he wrote: "After the latest scan results I was sent home to rest and think over the 2 possible options... I could opt for another trial, but this would mean travelling a lot to the hospital and coping with the side effects, but could also hopefully extend my life, or... I could simply do nothing, stay at home and let nature take its course." He said he was taking the second option.
His mother, Kay, who helps write his blog, said: "Reece has been so good, he never moans. He just got tired of the whole regime. So the rest of the family took on board how he felt and we made the decision to end his treatment. He would have gone on to new drugs, but the side effects are always sickness, fatigue and nausea."
She added: "The decision has been a breath of fresh air for Reece. Not to have to go to the hospital means a lot to him."
Reece had drawn up a "bucket list" of things to do before he died. It includes seeing his mother learn to drive so they could take day trips. Reece added: "I've been overwhelmed by all the support. It's really made a difference to me." (© Daily Telegraph, London)