Sunday, 26 April 2009

Gabriel Davies' VIP Tour of Heathrow Airport

Thursday last week was the day when Gabriel Davies, along with his parents Christine & Dylan, was given the VIP treatment at Heathrow Airport. I mentioned briefly in an earlier blog about Gabriel but as promised, here's his story written by a close family friend:

Gabriel Davies is a toddler battling an extremely rare and aggressive cancer, he will be turning 4 years old on 11th April 2009. He was diagnosed with an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumour (AT/RT) of the brain and spine in August 2008. Gabriel became ill the day his baby sister, Imogen, was born. Gabriel’s parents were told on August 7th 2008 that he had two or three months to live, so the very fact that he is still with us today is an absolute miracle.

Following a lifesaving operation to remove the brain tumour last summer, doctors at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, advised Gabriel's parents, that the cancer was so aggressive that palliative care was the only available option.

They took the heartbreaking decision to take him home to be with his family, but Gabriel was doing so well after two months on a low-dose chemotherapy that his team of doctors decided to attempt to treat the cancer on an intensive experimental chemotherapy regime. Gabriel's fighting spirit has carried him through and the tireless efforts of the team at Addenbrooke's resulted in an experimental treatment protocol being formulated. The doctors are not promising anything, but they are buying more time in the hope a new treatment becomes available, he has also recently undergone a stem cell transplant.

Gabriel has also been nominated for the Pride In Bedford Child Of Courage Award.

I was honoured to be asked to come along and document his visit by taking some photographs, in particular at the Airport Fire Station where the guys had, had a mini Fireman's Uniform made up complete with helmet. Amongst other things Gabriel was given a tour round the station, driven around in one of their huge Fire Engines and then taken to the training area where he let rip with a water canon. Airport Police also came along with some goodies and treated him to a ride round the airfield in their Police Car. Needless to say, the beaming smile on his face said it all.

Following his time spent with some of the Airport Emergency Services, Gabriel was then treated to all manner of things by BAA which included a trip inside the new Control Tower.

All in all, an incredibly humbling day and something special to see how everyone pulled together to make Gabriel's visit extra special, with not a dry eye in sight seeing this brave little boy having a really great time and smiling from ear to ear.

To keep up with Gabriel, his parents Christine & Dylan have created a blog which is updated on a regular basis:


MS 26 April 2009 at 11:33  

Glyn, a wonderful and truely inspring story and pictures. Many thanks for blogging.
Martin. (SaintyM on twitter)

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