THE father of Finlay Church, an Alvechurch boy who raised thousands for charity before he died from a brain tumour, recently joined campaigners at Westminster calling for more funding for research into the disease.
Finlay, who broke a Guinness World Record, raised more than £90,000 for charity, and was crowned Child of Courage at the Pride of Birmingham Awards 2015, died in November 2015, 17 months after he was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour.
He was just 11 years old.
Finlay's dad Wayne was among families, carers, scientists, charities and politicians who joined the national charity Brain Tumour Research in urging MPs to reverse the “unacceptable” level of investment into finding a cure and improving treatments for the 60,000 people living with a brain tumour in the UK.
Speaking at a reception at Speaker’s House, Wayne said: “Our boy Finlay had a karate black belt, he was a Guinness world record and was awarded Pride of Birmingham’s Child of Courage.
"Throughout his short life he endured so much; neurosurgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, drug trials. He was funny, clever, handsome and brave.
"We lost him 17 months after he was diagnosed with a hideous and hateful GBM brain tumour.
“We are ashamed to admit that there came a stage when we wished Fin had leukaemia. Investment in research and increased public awareness means leukaemia has multiple treatment options and generally better outcomes. But where is the investment and subsequent improvement in outcomes for patients with brain tumours? We fought as hard as we could for Fin and it was sickening to learn that his treatment for brain cancer was antiquated and barbaric, as cruel as the disease itself.”
Wayne added: “He was our gorgeous first baby. It was a shock when Penny and I found ourselves in charge of something so precious. As the years went by, we were blessed with the arrival of two siblings for Fin, a younger brother Kenzie and then our daughter Tegan. It was the perfect family we had dreamed of. If only it could have stayed that way.
“Fin was fit and active always knew right from wrong and I have no doubt he would have achieved his dream of becoming an armed policeman.
“You never get over the loss of a child, our hearts remain broken and we are drained and exhausted. This evil disease does not discriminate. If there is one good thing to come of this it will be that more people start to sit up and listen, that more people understand the horror of this disease that takes so many of our young people, and that more will be done to ensure this does not keep happening to families like ours.”
Wayne and wife Penny will be holding a fundraising event at Alvechurch Cricket Club on Friday, March 31 from 7 to 11pm.
The event, as part of the annual Wear A Hat Day, asks people to wear a funny, fabulous or flamboyant hat with money going toward Brain Tumour Research.
Ticket price for the evening, including drinks and music, is £3 per person or £10 for a family ticket.
For more information, visit facebook.com/Finlaysjourney.