Stevenage boy with brain tumour is charity’s ambassador

A COURAGEOUS young boy who has been fighting for his life since being diagnosed with a brain tumour has met a whole host of celebrities after winning an award which recognises the bravery he has shown.

Five-year-old Zach Chowdhury, who lives in Stevenage’s Old Town, was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour called DIPG when he was three.

Following chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, which affected his immune system, he picked up a virus and was rushed to hospital.

His parents were told he was unlikely to survive more than 24 hours and, if he did, he may not be able to walk or talk.

Zach not only survived, but can run around like other boys his age and still loves to play and have fun, although his speech and memory have been affected.

His mum, Yasmin, said: “Zach didn’t speak correctly as a toddler and when his right eye turned overnight he was given glasses and an eye patch to strengthen the eye.

“We couldn’t believe it when we were told he had a brain tumour.

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“He was referred to a neurosurgeon at Addenbrooke’s and we were shocked to learn Zach had one of the most aggressive types a child can have.”

Tragically, the tumour is inoperable and Zach’s treatment has now stopped.

Zach, who is a pupil at St Christopher School in Letchworth GC, was one of 21 children from across the UK who came together to attend a special party as ambassadors representing the 390 children who received Little Star Awards in 2011/12.

The Little Star Awards, given out by Cancer Research UK in association with TK Maxx, acknowledge the unique challenges faced by youngsters who encounter cancer and raise vital funds for research into the disease.

At the Little Star Awards party at London Zoo, Zach, along with the other ambassadors, met a host of celebrities, including singer Lemar, TV presenters and former Blue Peter hosts Zoe Salmon and Konnie Huq, actor and TV presenter Joe Swash, and former EastEnders star Cheryl Fergison.

It is estimated that between 20 and 30 children are diagnosed with DIPG each year in the UK.

Yasmin would like to see more awareness and research into the rare tumour.

She said: “A high percentage of children don’t survivor DIPG for more than a year. Zach has proven there are exceptions and his dad and I are very proud of the way he has coped with everything he has had to face.”

For more about Cancer Research UK and the Little Star Awards, or to make a donation, visit www.cancerresearchuk.org/littlestar or text ‘STAR58 �5’ to 70070 to donate �5. Donation texts are free from any network and 100 per cent of the donation will go to Cancer Research UK.

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