Meet some of our shortlisted nominees – Aaron Wharton
Aaron Wharton – Child of Courage, shortlisted nominee
Aaron was diagnosed with an Anaplastic Ependymoma (a rare brain tumour affecting just 30 children in the UK each year) in April 2020 at age 4. He endured a 10-hour surgery, which successfully removed the whole tumour. However, due to complications such as hydrocephalus and contracting surgical meningitis twice, he lost his ability to walk and talk and stayed in hospital for 10 weeks.
Aaron underwent proton radiation therapy and completed treatment in August 2020. Aaron started reception full-time in September 2020, however in June 2021 he suffered a major relapse and underwent a gruelling 12-hour surgery, which initially seemed to be successful, but in August he had to have another surgery to remove the tumour. Any functions he regained in 2021, were now lost once again.
His parents were told that his chances of a cure had now dropped to 5%. Undeterred, Aaron underwent another 6 week round of Radiotherapy, followed by a 17-week intense course of therapy - this started on New Years Eve 2021.
After each cycle of chemotherapy Aaron would be back in hospital with infections, needing antibiotics, and blood and platelet transfusions. He completed his chemotherapy treatment in April 2022.
Following surgeries, Aaron was left with the inability to talk, walk, swallow and he lost hearing in his left ear. With the help of speech and language therapy, he has learned to talk again and he can now walk with the use of aids.
Surgery and treatment have had an effect on his personal development also and he suffers from memory loss and struggles with concentration.
Aaron had a further major relapse in September of this year, and unfortunately now has a terminal prognosis, with a very short time remaining. The recent brain surgery that he had, was to try and help give a better quality of life for a little longer. But there are still tumours that will not be operated on. He is now on a palliative oral chemotherapy regime to try and slow the growth of these tumours.
Despite all this, Aaron is determined not to let any of these factors intrude on his life and he has been working up to returning to school full time.
Aaron's story has touched so many people, not only in the UK, but Worldwide. His strength, determination, and resilience, all with a smile on his face, is simply amazing. He is that rainbow after a storm.