Meet some of our shortlisted nominees – The Bevan Family
The Bevan Family - Courageous Family, shortlisted nominee
The Bevan family were dealt a blow 7.5 years ago when 20-month-old Freya was diagnosed with brain cancer. She underwent two large brain surgeries, 6 intense rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, as well as countless blood transfusions. Freya nearly lost her life twice due to seizures from the chemotherapy medication, but she fought so hard to stay alive.
They then had 5 stable years without any tumour growth, but unfortunately Freya had many side effects from her treatments including; hearing loss, speech problems, eyesight issues, stunted growth and learning difficulties. Whilst this was hard for the whole family, Freya still managed to attend mainstream school, where she made fantastic friends.
Sadly, in 2020 a fresh blow hit the family, a new tumour had been found. After another gruelling surgery, they travelled to America so Freya could receive Proton beam radiation, however upon arrival in February 2021 Freya was suffering from severe headaches. An MRI showed that the tumour had already returned with a terrible prognosis.
Hours of dedicated research from her mum Katherine resulted in various experimental treatment options including a vaccine trial in Mexico, varying tablet combinations and Vitamin C treatments. This was taking an incredible toll on Freya and sadly another MRI showed that the tumours had spread to her spine. More gruelling treatment was undertaken, but again this was not having any results and Freya was becoming weaker.
Katherine's dedication to her daughter was truly inspiring and when Freya started to deteriorate, she contacted her favourite author - David Walliams - who invited them to his house for tea. David has followed their story and still keeps in contact today.
In December 2021, Freya lost her battle with cancer. She was surrounded by her family - mother, father, brother and sister, all heartbroken.
Keen to give back to families like theirs, Katherine has now qualified as a bereavement counsellor, and offers her services for free to any family who needs help. She is also in talks with publishers discussing writing a book about Freya’s life, with all profits to go to charity.
Pictured, Freya Bevan