Dad shares his son Nate’s story

When Nathaniel, also known as Nate or Natty, was three-years-old he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a cancerous brain tumour found in children. After receiving treatment for two years, Nate died at the age of five. Dad Phil, shares his son’s story.

Phil’s partner Nicola was on the way to the hospital when Nate was diagnosed, and he had ten minutes to plan how he was going to tell her the news. 

“I could always remember how helpless I was, trying to suck up to tell her and I couldn’t get the words out. I just looked at her and all I could say was, ‘I’m sorry’. Then the doctor intercepted, I think he was going to try and catch her at the door.” 

That same night, the family was moved to Queen’s Medical Centre where Nate had to be operated on to remove as much of the tumour as possible. Once Nate had the operation, he went through rounds of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.  

During his treatment, Nate and his family were supported by Young Lives vs Cancer by staying at Billy’s House and through their social worker, Val.  

“She just had everything sorted, she was absolutely awesome, honestly, I was just so impressed. Because there’s so much more than just your kid being ill. I’ve got two step kids at home, and we were trying to manage them as best as we could too.” 

When Phil and Nicola took Nate to his second review meeting, they were expecting to hear that Nate was responding well to treatment but unfortunately, they received the opposite news.    

“We were told, ‘I’m sorry, Mr. Gidman and Miss Smith the treatments not working’, and it just went from the start of the day thinking they’re going to say everything’s going along nicely and then everything crashes again.” 

Upon receiving the news that Nate was being put into palliative care, the family spent the next few months making as many memories as possible which included Nate being a mascot for a Tranmere Rovers’ game and walking the team out. 

On the night Nate died, Phil had spent the day taking in every moment with his son. 

“I brought every book he owned downstairs, and I read every book to him. There must have been about 60 books. And I read them all cover to cover that night.” 

Phil continues to use his voice to raise awareness of childhood cancer and call for change so children get the specialist support they need.

Phil is supporting our Children and Young People’s Cancer Plan that would make sure their unique needs are addressed. Show your support by emailing your parliamentary representative now!

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Author: Alison

Posted on Wednesday 27 September 2023

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