NI man diagnosed with terminal cancer days before his 21st birthday

The family of a Northern Ireland man who was diagnosed with a rare cancer just days before he was to celebrate turning 21, say they will not let the disease define him.

William Campbell, from Lisburn, was diagnosed with terminal Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma on January 25. This kind of cancer, his family says, is "extremely rare", usually affecting young children.

Due to the position of his tumour, surgery isn’t an option for William, whose ability to speak, talk and move has been impacted.

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William's partner Courtney said: "A lot of people are still unaware of Williams fight and what he’s been fighting for months now.

"On the 10th of January, William went to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast to receive a CT scan where he was told that they had seen something and that he would be kept in.

"William spent two nights on a trolley in a corridor, then a week in the Royal until he got an MRI. He was then told he has a tumour on his brain. We as a family spent a full week hoping and praying for it to be a benign tumour or at least treatable. However on the 25th of January we were sat in a room and told the words no family wants to hear.

"William was diagnosed with terminal DIPG and due to the nature of where this tumour planted itself, it controls the ability to talk, swallow, eat, to breath and mobility.

"As a partner I was utterly devastated with William's diagnosis. Me and William have known each other since we were four. We went to the same nursery and primary school and had the same friend circle throughout the years, where we met again and have been together ever since.

"We both had plans to get married and have our own family and explore the world but since then I have spent every hour and every day with him by his side in hospital and Marie Curie Hospice or relentlessly searching for something that could be done. We as a couple are not letting this stop our future."

Courtney says they have learned of an 11-year-old boy who was also diagnosed with DIPG, but was treated through a clinical trial. They have said they hope this will be approved and rolled out to patients.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up by Courtney, to fund treatment, with £2,000 raised so far through donations from family, friends and strangers who have been touched by William's brave journey.

"William has honestly been so strong throughout this, coping with all the symptoms and going through physiotherapy to get to where he is now," she added.

"I couldn’t tell you how proud I am of him. To see him come from the darkest place possible to keeping his head up and battling through this. Everyone that has known about William from the start has been unbelievable and their support has been very much appreciated and hasn’t gone unnoticed. As his partner and on behalf of the family we can't thank people enough.

"Williams friend Ashley found an alternative medicine which has helped many other cancer patients and William has been taking this ever since he finished radiotherapy. But it costs Ashley £600 to get this ordered and this is simply not cost effective for anyone to be getting on daily basis.

"I am asking all family, friends and wider circle if anyone can help us with donations to help. Big or small is greatly appreciated. Everyone knows William as a strong funny confident lad and that is what he will continue to be. Will never let cancer define him."

Please click here for more information on how to donate.

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