Brandon sails through cancer battle

17 year Brandon Holtom of Whittle le Woods who has just returned from a once in a lifetime sailing trip with the Ellen McArthur Cancer Trust, pictured with mum Caroline.

17 year Brandon Holtom of Whittle le Woods who has just returned from a once in a lifetime sailing trip with the Ellen McArthur Cancer Trust, pictured with mum Caroline.

0
Have your say

Most teenagers will do anything to bag a day off college, but not Brandon Holtom.

Despite being diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, the Chorley teenager only missed one day of classes at Runshaw College - and that was because he had an allergic reaction to seafood!

Now, the 17-year-old, who has undergone 10 months of intensive treatment at The Christie Hospital in Manchester, has been rewarded for his bravery with a trip of a lifetime sailing with the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

Brandon, who even got distinctions in his BTEC Business Studies course, said: “When I was told that I had cancer I was scared I was going to die.

“The doctors were speaking, but I just couldn’t take it in.

“I knew I had to stay positive though and I was determined not to let the cancer beat me.

“I had to have radiotherapy and chemo and it made me feel really ill, but I didn’t want to miss college and fall behind.

“I sometimes felt so sick that I would have to ask the bus driver to stop and let me off, but I’d still carry on and walk to college.

“Everyday I’d have to finish a little bit earlier so my mum could drive me to Manchester for treatment.

“She was an absolute star through it all and has been with me every step of the way.”

Brandon had only just finished his GCSEs when he was diagnosed with cancer aged 16.

“I used to get terrible headaches and started to get double vision,” he added. “I kept feeling dizzy and disorientated - it felt a bit like being drunk.

“I ended up having three seizures and I knew something wasn’t right, but I still managed to get a B in my exams which was brilliant.”

A brain scan revealed that Brandon, from Whittle-le-Woods, had an aggressive tumour the size of a grape and they operated immediately to remove it.

“Everyone was really supportive,” he said.

“I was lucky that they found it early and the treatment went well.

“I’m in remission now, but it’s still always at the back of my mind and I still go for tests, but I’m just trying to be really positive and live life to the full.”

And, the youngster said he’s been too busy to think about his illness after being invited to a number of different charity events after beating cancer.

He said: “I met Noel Gallagher from Oasis at a Teenage Cancer Trust event and I also got chosen to go on the Ellen MacArthur sailing trip.

“It was absolutely brilliant and I got to meet lots of new people who had all been through the same thing.

“The Make A Wish Foundation is also going to give my attic a makeover and has given me four tickets to V-Festival so I can’t wait.

“I’m just determined to live life to the full now after everything that’s happened.”

Brandon’s proud mum, Caroline said: “When he was diagnosed with cancer it was like a bolt out of the blue, but he has been amazing through it all.

“It was twice as hard for him at college because the radiotherapy affected his memory, but he still got distinctions.

“He’s a real inspiration.”