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27 March 2024

Our bereavement support – Ellis’ story

Gold and white cloud with gap in the middle
Flying guess silhouettes

We fly together with families across their whole cancer journey. From diagnosis to treatment, remission and, sadly, sometimes bereavement.

Gold Geese helps families honour and remember their child taken too soon so they know that they are not alone. We cover the costs of funerals, memorial benches and trees, and bereaved parent get-togethers.

We’re honoured to share with you Ellis, who was diagnosed with stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma when he was 3 and died aged 6 last autumn.

His mums Amy and Tracy want to share their story to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of childhood cancer, and help other parents bereaved by childhood cancer know they’re not alone.

Ellis had stopped eating properly and lost his appetite, waking up screaming and sweating profusely in the night. He had also started having problems walking

Doctors said it was an infection, diagnosed him with an irritable hip and tonsilitis and gave him antibiotics. But his health worsened, and he was taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for scans, which found he had cancer.

“Ellis was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma and a 50% chance of survival. Our whole world was blown apart. We didn’t know how to move forward.

Fight or flight mode took over and from that day for the next two years our family was split up due to the covid rules on oncology wards. It took four months to get to the bottom of Ellis being so poorly and being first time parents made us question ourselves. We know it can’t change anything now, but we wish we had pushed for more investigations earlier. ”

Tracy, Ellis’ mum

Ellis underwent two and a half years of treatment, including surgery to remove the tumour from his abdomen, stem cell treatment and intensive chemotherapy.

“Ellis never, ever complained until towards the end of his life when he was tired and in pain. He always liked to make people laugh, the nurses all knew him and loved him, and he had a reputation as a joker. And he was like a little ninja, so fearless and always jumping around energetically.

“He was such a caring boy and absolutely mad about animals. His dream was to have a puppy but we had to be careful with risk of infection. So when scans showed he was disease-free a few months into treatment, his consultant said we could get a puppy – and our dachshund Blue came along. He and Ellis were inseparable from the beginning and right until the end. They adored each other.”

But Ellis relapsed just one week later, and his chances of survival dropped to 5%. He went back on chemotherapy and took part in four experimental research trials, but none stopped the cancer from progressing. Ellis died at home, with his family and Blue around him, in October 2023.

Gold Geese bereavement support

Ellis’ family came across Gold Geese after he died, after hearing about the help we provide for parents bereaved through childhood cancer. We covered the cost of two Ashes into Glass rings, so Ellis would always be with his mums.

Tracy says, “We had to give up work to look after Ellis so it’s been a struggle financially as well as emotionally. We can’t even explain how grateful we are to Gold Geese for providing us with these memorial rings. They’re so precious. We had been taking the urn with Ellis’ ashes into bed with us, but since we’ve had the rings we haven’t done it since. He feels close, like he’s with us all the time. We’re so thankful.” 

We’re able to do this through our amazing community’s support and donations, thank you.