Chris's Story

FIGHTING EPENDYMOMA was set up in memory of Chris Bramhall who died in January 2013 at the age of 21.

Chris was first diagnosed at the age of eight after feeling unwell for three months. He began to wake up with a headache and then started to vomit sometimes up to six times a day. Chris was admitted to hospital but was discharged only to be re-admitted as an emergency a week later. In that week he lost over a stone in weight. A CT scan revealed a large mass in the 4th ventricle of his brain and he was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary where he underwent a four hour operation to remove the tumour.

The operation was successful and Chris then had six weeks of radiotherapy which involved being bolted face down in a rigid mask for ten minutes for each session. Chris made a good recovery and returned to school full-time. At the age of twelve Chris began to get excrutiating pain in his hip. An MRI scan revealed a tumour in his spine just below the shoulder blades. The cancer had recurred and spread from its original location. For the next nine years Chris fought through forty more tumours in the brain and spine having many surgeries, courses of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

In spite of all the treatments Chris lived life to the full. He had many interests including anything to do with China. He loved cooking Chinese food from scratch !. He also dreamed of being a stuntman in martial arts films. Cancer never deterred him and even when it returned  he took up Martial Arts and achieved four belts in Kung Fu diligently training every week without missing a session for two and a half years. As a special treat he travelled to Los Angeles to find Bruce Lee's star on The Walk of Fame in Hollywood. He loved it there and enjoyed every minute. Chris's other passion was music and he became an awesome guitar player performing in front of the school not long after his first diagnosis and appearing with his brother in bands. Chris was nominated by his school for The Princess Diana Award for being an inspiration to his peers but was sadly too ill at the time to proceed with the application.

Chris's astounded us all with his courage and dignity even after being told at the age of fifteen that his cancer could not be cured. For the next six years he tried every treatment that was offered and carried on with his life as best he could. He was never one for drawing attention to himself or his illness preferring instead to just 'get on with it' . It helped him immensely that others were interested in researching his type of cancer, however, and it is for this reason that we have carried on in his honour our search for a cure.