- by Rowena Hoskin
- BBC News
Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds has paid tribute to a boy who died of a brain tumor and has lent his support to a fundraising campaign for cancer research.
Dozens of people attended the event on Friday to honor seven-year-old Aaron Wharton, who died on April 9.
The group raised over £16,000 for brain tumor research, which Aaron’s mother said was an “incredible legacy” for Aaron.
The actor said, “There was absolutely no reason why someone like Aaron shouldn’t be here with us today.”
In a message to Aaron’s family and those on the firewalk, he said: “Thank you for coming here to honor Aaron’s memory, for all you have done and for all that you are doing to fund brain tumor research.” have been
“There’s no reason why someone like Aaron shouldn’t be here with us today, so the work you’re doing is incredibly important and hugely impactful to so many people.
“I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
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Aaron, from Buckley, Flintshire, was diagnosed when he was four in 2020 with a rare and aggressive ependymoma.
During his three-year battle, Aaron underwent surgery and grueling radiotherapy treatment. In September 2022, the family learns that the cancer has spread.
Her parents now want more awareness and funding for brain tumor research.
Brain Tumor Research said this form of cancer kills more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, but accounts for only 1% of national spending on cancer research since records began in 2002 Assigned to brain tumor.
Aaron’s mother Nicola Wharton said there were “no words” to describe how she felt when she was told about the news.
Aaron was immediately transferred from the Countess of Chester Hospital to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, under the care of a specialist surgical neurological team.
Nicola said that Aaron was found to have a rare mutated chromosome “which in itself is lethal”.
“There is no targeted treatment for that particular mutation, so everything was against it, even though we tried every treatment option that was available to us,” she said.
Aaron passed away in early April, and dad Lee said “every day has been rubbish”.
Nicola said: “It’s been strange trying to adjust to him not being here.
“It doesn’t feel like home, it’s missing a big piece of Aaron.”
He was “so cheeky” and “infectious”, Nicola said. “Everyone immediately fell in love with her.”
Lee said: “It’s astonishing why at Aaron’s age there would be something wrong with his DNA.
“I’m 52 now. I’ve drank, I’ve smoked, and [the consultant] That said, the things you do in life… all of them can have profound changes in your DNA.
“It’s like having a loaded gun in your head, one day the trigger will go off because of what you’re doing,” he said.
“But a seven-year-old kid?
“I try to rack my brain every day by asking the same question, why did it go wrong? But I can’t find an answer.
“Hopefully, one day brain tumor research can come up with an answer and try and save as many children as possible in the future.”
Nicola said many people have the impression “that brain tumors are rare, but they are not”.
The couple said they have met five other children within 20 miles (about 32 km) of their home, all of whom have been diagnosed with brain tumors.
“Three of those five children are now gone, Aaron being one of them,” Nicola said.
The firewalk took place at The Racecourse Ground, where Aaron was a mascot to aid the charity.
Nicola said: “When I heard Ryan say Aaron’s name I was shivering, I couldn’t believe it. The fact that Ryan has resonated and agreed with everything we set out to do Because Aaron’s diagnosis is unbelievable.”
The event saw participants walk barefoot on burning coals reaching temperatures of over 800C.
Nicola said: “The adrenaline carried us and although it was very hot, it was a fun event. Knowing we were doing this in Aaron’s name, it felt like walking hand in hand.”
Wrexham AFC captain Luke Young, who was Aaron’s mascot in November 2022, returned from Las Vegas to support the event. He was joined by the Mayor of Buckley, Councilor Julia Jones.
Nicola said it was “phenomenal” to raise so much money for the research charity.
“It’s about six days of funded research at one of their centers of excellence,” she said.
Both mother and father hoped that six days of dedicated research could lead to “breakthrough”.
Mel Tilley, Community Development Manager for Brain Tumor Research, said: “Brain tumors are devastating, and we shouldn’t lose so many people to this disease, especially children like Aaron who have their whole lives ahead of them.”