WATCHING Bradley Marshall energetically dribbling a football around his Bridlington back garden it is hard to believe that he has just endured two months of cancer treatment.
The 10-year-old Burlington School pupil has now returned from America after receiving a course of ground-breaking proton therapy treatment for a cancerous tumour at the base of his spine.
The tumour had already survived two removal operations, so for the Marshall family all hopes are pinned on the proton treatment working.
“We won’t know how successful it’s been until after about 12-months,” said Dawn, Bradley’s mum.
“But we’re feeling very optimistic.
“We were told before we took him to America that we should make the best of the trip so that it wasn’t all about the cancer, and I don’t think we could have done anything more.
“We had a great time over there because we wanted to make sure that Bradley had lots of positive memories of it.”
And it seems that the family did a sterling job of taking the youngster’s mind off his tumour.
Bradley told the Free Press that he felt no pain throughout the treatment, which saw him attend the Proton Therapy Institute in Florida for weekly sessions to blast the tumour with proton radiation.
And he proudly showed off the alligator head he brought back from the States as a rather grizzly memento of his time over there.
“It was all really, really good,” he said.
“I didn’t feel anything and I managed to enjoy myself.”
Asked which part of the trip was the most fun and Bradley is torn between a visit to Disneyland, the Universal Studios and a spot of shark fishing.
“I caught two!” he said. “And we saw a 12ft shark but luckily it wasn’t too near to us so I wasn’t scared.”
Another rather unusual memento from Bradley’s trip to Florida is a mould of his tumour which was used by the proton machine to directly target the cancer cells without damaging the surrounding tissue.
The huge proton machine, which has 18ft thick concrete walls surrounding it to prevent radiation leakage, is a daunting piece of equipment, but Bradley was unfazed by it.
He said: “I wasn’t scared at all, it was like something out of Star Wars!”
Life has now returned to normal for Bradley who was back at school within a week of returning to Bridlington.
He has burn marks at the base of his spine which are healing well and the family hope to make a return trip to Florida for a follow-up appointment over the next year.
Dawn said: “This family has been through so much over the last few months but it all feels like it’s settling down now.
“We’d like to thank everybody who has supported us throughout this, the support that we’ve had from most Bridlington residents and the Kids n Cancer charity has been overwhelming.
“All we can do now is wait.”