The heartbroken parents of a 3-year-old boy in the U.K. said that when they started to become aware that their son was flashing a new, crooked smile they originally thought that maybe he was imitating someone he had seen.
“We didn’t take any notice because it was gradual, we just thought it was funny, but this is his new smile,” Wesley Lacey, Jack’s father, stated, according to The Sun.
But Lacey said Jack then began to walk outstretched with his arms as if to brace his fall or feel his surroundings, and also began to blink constantly.
The boy also started to suffer from night terrors, leading them to seek a doctor’s help. Jack was sent to the Children’s Hospital in Sheffield where doctors found an aggressive brain tumor and diagnosed him with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). According to the Dana-Farber Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, the highly aggressive and hard to treat brain tumors are found in the pons area of the brainstem, which controls breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. DIPG accounts for 10% of all tumors of the childhood nervous system and is typically found in children aged 5 to 9, but may occur in children of any age. Symptoms may first present as problems with arms and legs with eye movements, facial expressions, speech, chewing, swallowing, walking problems, or weakness. The prognosis remains very poor, according to the center.
He had a biopsy of his tumor and was fitted with a portacath before starting radiation and chemotherapy to stunt the tumor’s growth.
Last week, doctors reportedly told Lacey and Jack’s mom, Rebecca Oldham, that their child has between six months and a year to live.
“We are broken,” Lacey said, according to The Sun. “The news has been the darkest time of our lives, I can’t even begin to think about him not being there. He hasn’t got any relatives who have passed away, there’s no one waiting for him.”
Lacey said his son’s symptoms came on in a four-week span, but that they thought Jack was developing his own persona. The family, which includes Jack’s 2-year-old sister has returned home, but say that the medication is altering their son.
“His behavior is not what it should be,” Lacey said, according to The Sun. “The other day he croaked to his mom that he will stop wobbling when he walks if he can go home.”
Thoughts and prayers are with this family.