A schoolboy has been diagnosed with cancer just two weeks after the funeral of his identical twin, who died of a brain tumour.
Doctors initially thought 15-year-old Jack Parton suffered from PTSD after his brother Ben died in December 2019.
But it turned out he had the blood cancer leukemia – a further blow to the already ailing family.
Mum Julie Parton, 54, said: “Knowing that my surviving son had leukemia was devastating.
“Although I have to hope the leukemia is curable when Ben never had that chance.”
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Ben died three years ago ten days before Christmas after undergoing two surgeries, 30 sessions of radiotherapy and two cycles of chemotherapy.
He had been diagnosed with glioblastoma eight months earlier after bouts of vomiting and painful headaches.
A month later a CT scan at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton showed a mass on his brain and he had less than two years to live.
Then, two weeks after Ben’s funeral, his brother Jack was diagnosed.
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Julie, from Cannock, Staffordshire, added: “Ben was very laid back compared to Jack who is fiery – they balanced each other out.
“But Ben loved Christmas and would be so excited from the end of October. He made Christmas so fun for us.”
Jack is participating in Brain Tumor Research’s Wear A Christmas Hat Day this month in memory of his brother.
The family – who have already raised almost £1,000 for the charity – will hold an open day on December 10.
Jack’s other pupils and teachers at Kingsmead School will also be wearing festive headwear on December 16 to support the fundraiser.
Mum Julie said: ‘This time of year is always difficult as Ben passed away before Christmas, but we have decided to use his love of the holidays to celebrate his life every December.
“Jack is doing well and nearing the end of his treatment. I feel privileged to be his mother.”
Mel Tiley, Community Development Manager at Brain Tumor Research, added: “Ben’s story is devastating and we are grateful to Julie for sharing it with us.
“The family’s experience demonstrates the need for more funding and brain tumor research to keep families together.
“We wish Julie and Jack all the best for their fundraising Wear A Christmas Hat day.
“Anyone can register, and if you can’t attend on Friday, December 16, don’t worry! You can hold your event any other day in December at your convenience.”
Brain Tumor Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centers in the UK.
He is also campaigning for the government and major cancer charities to invest more in brain tumor research to speed up new treatments for patients and find a cure.