Welsh dad shares his son’s story in support of Children with Cancer UK

A father from, Bridgend is supporting leading childhood cancer charity, Children with Cancer UK, to help raise awareness following son Mason’s cancer diagnosis.

Mason Edwards, from Bridgend, Wales, was diagnosed with abdominal Round Cell Soft Tissue Sarcoma, in May 2021, when he was just 16-months-old.

After noticing a small lump on his back, Mason’s parents, James and Emma, initially thought it was harmless. However, as the lump rapidly grew, they took him to the doctor. Following a second medical opinion and various scans and tests, Mason was diagnosed with abdominal Round Cell Soft Tissue Sarcoma.

Mason’s dad, James, commented:

“When Mason was diagnosed, it felt like our lives were put on pause. Being a cancer survivor myself, I felt as if Mason and I were paired up for a reason, and I knew I was the right person to look after him.

“Mason’s diagnosis was a long, incredibly stressful journey. He began treatment before receiving an official diagnosis due to the rapid growth of the lump. We knew that Mason had an aggressive growth which meant that his treatment was tough. Throughout his treatment Mason just wanted to be on his feet, exploring like a typical toddler, so it was really hard to keep him in hospitals for sometimes up to four days straight hooked up to machines.”

Abdominal Round Cell Soft Tissue Sarcoma is a rare type of soft tissue sarcoma. Soft tissue sarcomas accounts for 6% of all cancers diagnosed in children. Although childhood sarcomas can be found anywhere in the body, children generally develop them in their arms, legs, chest or abdomen.

After further intense treatment, which included a six-week cycle of Proton beam therapy, a modern advancement over traditional X-ray radiotherapy, Mason’s recent scan was confirmed clear, but revealed he has a collapsed lung, which is currently being investigated.

James continues: “Six months of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery helped Mason survive cancer. Mason is doing really well and every moment with him, and his big sister Paige, is a gift. He recently started nursery full-time where he’s already met friends and seeing him enjoy the simple things in life such as riding his big boy bike is something we’ll never take for granted.

“This Father’s Day, my wish was for greater awareness and understanding of childhood cancer.

“As a family, we’re so pleased to support Children with Cancer UK’s mission. It can be so overwhelming when your child receives a cancer diagnosis, so we hope that by sharing Mason’s story we can help other families who are facing a similar cancer journey feel supported and less alone.”

Children with Cancer UK is one of the leading national children’s charities working towards a world where every child survives cancer.

Amar Naher, CEO of Children with Cancer UK, added: “We’d like to thank James and Mason’s family for sharing their inspirational story and helping us to increase the understanding of sarcomas diagnosed in children, raising awareness to childhood cancer and the support we offer as a charity.

“10 children and young people are still being diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK. As a charity, we strive to increase awareness and understanding of childhood cancer and fund vital scientific research into better and kinder treatments.

“Thanks to the efforts of our supporters and fundraisers, this important work can continue and help to create brighter futures for young cancer patients just like Mason.”

Survival rates for children’s cancers are improving. Fifty years ago, three-quarters of children diagnosed with cancer died; today more than 8 in 10 children diagnosed with cancer in the UK survive. However, around 4,200 children and young adults are diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK, and cancer is one of the leading causes of death for young people.

For more information about Children with Cancer UK, visit  www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk.