Brad Davis 31 May 1985 – 13 October 2003
Brad was an exceptional teenager.
It is easy to say good things about people when they are gone but Brad truly was a special person.
At School he got by, struggled with some things but never really troubled the Teachers. Mischievous yes, but popular with everyone.
When Brad finally completed his GCSE’s he left school with a great sense of relief not really knowing what his future held. Within a couple of months things clicked into place for him and it looked like he had found his niche in life. Brad started college on a foundation Graphic Design course and shone from the very beginning. Where he would struggle with homework at school he would now apply himself for hours on his coursework.
He had the ability to be able to mix in any company. To sit and chat with his Great Nan, the next minute running around and entertaining the younger children.
Unfortunately shortly after starting college in September 2001 nature dealt its cruel blow, Brad found a lump on his thigh and after a visit to the Doctor he was referred to the Queens Medical centre in Nottingham where he was diagnosed with cancer in December.
As a child he was never really ill, the usual cold, sniffles, chicken pox and hay fever during the summer.
At 16 years old, Brad was diagnosed with a Rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue tumour in his pelvis.
Due to complications caused by the tumours rapid growth and pressure on his kidneys Brad was admitted to the QMC hospital just after Christmas 2001 and started his first course of Chemotherapy on New Years Eve. Happy New Year !!!!!!! …….
Brad was treated on ward E38 the children’s Oncology wards.
His consultant Professor David Walker was a great doctor, and Brad and he hit it off straight away.
Brad received excellent care on the ward but it was not very teenager friendly. If he was lucky he would have his own room from one of the four side rooms available, the other option was in the four bed bays on the ward, where he would be treated and nursed alongside toddlers and their families.
Brad had no problem with this and made many friends the problems started at 9.00pm when the lights went out and the TV’s were switched off.
The side rooms gave him more freedom but you were also very isolated locked away from the world.
The chemo was very tough and Brad struggled with the effects and the sickness. He lost a lot of weight as his appetite diminished, it didn’t help him that he had no weight to lose before he started his treatment.
During his treatment Professor Walker approached Brad and discussed some of the other work that he was involved with and his passion for helping and treating adolescents with cancer. He recognized that they fell into a different category to children and adults and that their needs were different, and he was keen to raise everyone else’s awareness to this.
Brad was happy to assist and was keen to talk to any one about his experiences during his treatment and the needs of young people similar to himself.
After nine months of treatment and battling the side effects, we received some fantastic news. Early reports showed that the tumour had gone but there were still shadows or scarring visible.
The tumour had also damaged Brad’s main nerve to his leg and reduced his mobility, because of this he was unable to carry on playing football but such was his dynamism and energy that he volunteered his services to Carlton Boys his Brother Zach’s football team, and joined Scott and Martin on the coaching staff. Again his personality shone through and the boys really took to him and listened and respected his input.
By Christmas 2002 Brad was back in to the full flow of life. Excelling in his course, out partying with his mates and totally enjoying himself.
Unfortunately just before Christmas Brad was rediagnosed, the cancer had returned.
We decided to go away for New Year and went with friends to a lovely house on the cliff top in Gorey, Ireland, and had a fantastic time catching up with family and sampling the Guinness.
It wasn’t until we got back and were on our way to the hospital for a meeting with Professor Walker that Brad admitted he had found some further lumps. This really knocked the wind from our sails; Brad had found these in Ireland but chose not to say anything as he didn’t want to spoil everyone’s fun.
Because of the aggressive nature of the cancer there was no treatment available to Brad and he was put onto a maintenance treatment programme that was to control the cancers development.
As usual Brad took this in his stride, choosing not to discuss with his family as it turns out we think that this was possibly out of fear and also because of his nature it was his way of protecting his friends and family.
Brad chose not to sit and mope about his lot in life and went out and lived life to the full.
Appearing on CH4’s ‘The Salon’ touching the heart strings of Adee and Paul and millions of viewers when he returned after his first trendy haircut, to have what was left of his hair shaved off as the maintenance chemo took hold of his body.
May 2003 saw Brad reach his 18th birthday and as usual he partied hard for a week, actually gaining the respect of all his friends as he lasted past midnight on the night of his party and awoke the following morning without a hangover, I suppose the alcohol was nothing compared to the chemo he endured.
Brad had attended a couple of Teenage Cancer Trust events and had been really impressed with their actions and attitudes to the needs of adolescents.
Following discussions with his family and friends he decided that we should start an action plan to raise money and awareness to help teenagers with cancer and their families and get things moving in the Midlands as there was a real need for this type of facility.
At VW Action that 2003 Brian Burrows, Brett Hawksbee and their team gave Brad their total support and allowed us to start our fundraising efforts.
Although Brad was by this time very ill he found tremendous energy levels from some where to meet and talk to everyone touching their hearts as he went.
Unfortunately Brad lost his battle with this dreadful disease and died on 13th October 2003.
His funeral was a fitting celebration of such a young man taken too early, with a cool turnout of VW’s in all shapes and forms.
From there on the fund raising has become history with people all over the country totally embracing Brad’s wishes with some tremendous fund raising efforts.