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'Christmas miracle' boy receives national bravery award for fighting cancer

Ceylian was diagnosed with a rare type of bone and soft tissue cancer Credit: Cancer Research UK

A Leicestershire schoolboy has won a national bravery award after surviving surgery to remove a tumour half the size of his brain.

On Christmas Eve last year, Ceylian Bonnet Bocher’s parents called a priest to baptise him because they feared he wouldn’t survive surgery to remove an orange-sized tumour from his head.

The ten-hour operation was an unexpected success and, by Christmas Day, Ceylian was able to sit up in bed and open his presents.

Now the youngster, who will be four in January, has been given a Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens Star award in recognition of the courage he’s shown during the past year.

Mum Marina, who nominated Ceylian for the award, said:

We noticed he wasn’t walking properly in mid-November but we just thought we needed to change his shoes.

By December his walking had got worse so we took him to see the GP who referred him for an MRI scan four days later.

By then couldn’t even sit up in bed without falling down. The surgeon told us he’d found the biggest tumour he’d ever seen in a child that age and he didn’t know if it was even possible to operate.

We were so scared we got a priest to come and baptise him before the operation at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

I’ll never forget them bringing him out of surgery into intensive care. They were smiling and so proud. They called Ceylian their ‘Christmas Miracle’.

– Mum Marina
Ceylian has been described as a 'Christmas miracle' Credit: Cancer Research UK

Following surgery Ceylian was diagnosed with a rare type of bone and soft tissue cancer called Ewings Sarcoma.

He was able to return home on January 10 - his third birthday – before undergoing an intense course of chemotherapy which began in February.

But repeat infections meant that he was in and out of hospital constantly.

In May, Ceylian’s sister Lilwenn went to live with extended family in France while parents Marina and Damien took Ceylian to America for Proton Beam Therapy – a type of radiotherapy which precisely targets cancer cells.

Ceylian’s chemotherapy ended in September and, since then, family life has largely returned to normal.

Marine, from from Ashby de la Zouch, said:

We nominated Ceylian for the award because we’re so proud of him.

He was so brave throughout his treatment and now our energetic boy is back, smiling from morning to evening, cycling and playing football.

It’s wonderful to see and the award is a great way to celebrate his courage and how far he’s come.

– Mum Marina

Every year, around 105 children are diagnosed with cancer in the East Midlands.

The Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens Star award, in partnership with TK Maxx, celebrates the strength shown by young people who have been affected by cancer.