I was humbled to dedicate an adjournment debate to raise the issue of Paediatric Cancers of the Central Nervous System in Westminster in memory of Cian Case, after he lost his battle earlier this year. Cian was a young, gentle, happy young boy whose life was lost too early. Far too early. I was privileged to meet Cian at a fundraising rugby match in March 2016. His warmth, his sense of humour and his joyous nature will live with me forever.
Cancer is a foe that we will all have experience of. It could be a parent, an aunt, an uncle, a friend or even just someone we happen to know in passing. There is never a good time to get cancer, but, it is particularly life-changing to live through a child suffering with the condition – let alone your child. Something Richard and Lorraine, Cian’s parents, have had to live with.
Unlike many debates, I didn’t bring the topic up to swipe at the Government or condemn someone for not doing x or y, in fact quite the opposite. I brought the debate to the chamber to tell Cian’s story in the hope that all political parties can work together and get all governments, Welsh and UK, to work together to help ensure that no family has to go through what Cian’s have.
I wanted to pay tribute to Cian’s parents, Richard and Lorraine, and all his family for all of their bravery and courage in the most difficult of circumstances. I also wanted to thank the whole community of Llanharan and beyond whose support for Cian has been unwavering. Likewise, the staff, pupils and parents at Llanharan Primary School who were so supportive to Cian throughout his journey and have been there for his parents and friends since.
I was privileged to attend the memorial event they held shortly after Cian died. Being part of this outpouring of love in the most tragic of circumstances truly was a privilege. I want to thank Cian’s Head Teacher, Mrs Price, all the staff team; all of his school friends and the wider school community for the support and generosity they have shown Cian and his family.
Cian suffered from an atypical rhabdoid (often called AT/RT) which sadly does not typically have good survival rates. The key to fighting this disease is simple: medical research. The key point I stressed in the House of Commons was not a party-political one. It is that we must continue to advance our knowledge base across the UK and, most importantly, internationally.
The sad reality is, whilst we seek to meet some of these challenges, other families like Cian’s may sadly suffer the same anguish in the future. This isn’t something that we can simply throw money at and it will be solved overnight. But, by steadfastly supporting the Eliminate Cancer Initiative and redoubling our efforts to find new treatments and, hopefully one day, a cure for cancers of the central nervous system, we can ensure that Cian’s legacy lives on. Cian was a young boy with his whole life ahead of him. Let’s help to ensure that more children survive such cancers in his memory. If you’d like to donate, please visit Cian’s fundraising page at:
Richard Case, Cian's Father, and I