UK

Neon Roberts, Boy Whose Mother Tried To Prevent Radiotherapy For Brain Tumour, 'Recovering Well'

10/08/2013 20:12 BST

An eight-year-old boy whose mother failed in a legal bid to stop him having radiotherapy for a brain tumour has spoken for the first time of how doctors discovered his cancer.

A High Court judge ruled last year that Sally Roberts' son, Neon, should undergo radiotherapy for the tumour against her wishes.

Mrs Roberts, a New Zealander living in Brighton, East Sussex, described the treatment as ''barbaric and plain torture''.

In a Channel 4 documentary to be broadcast on Tuesday, Neon explained how doctors found his cancer in October last year.

neon roberts
Mrs Robers was concerned about cases of 'death by doctor'

He said: "At school, my neck went funny, it was twisting.

"My mum (took me) to hospital.

"They just did little things, like little movements. I had to move my neck and stuff like that."

His father, Ben Roberts, 35, from London, recalled the moment doctors told him the news.

"I just remember seeing a computer screen with a scan of his head, I remember a tumour taking up a large portion of the screen," he said.

"They were very insistent that this had to be dealt with yesterday kind of thing, you know, and this was a big thing that is growing fast and needs to be dealt with immediately.

"It was so bang-bang-bang-bang-bang that there were no decisions to be made, it was just you know, obviously I had to sign a piece of paper before he went into surgery, but there was obviously no reason for me ever to consider anything otherwise."

But Mr Roberts' wife, 38, feared that radiotherapy would cause long-term harm.

She hit the headlines when she disappeared with Neon but both were found safe and well after a judge ordered a search.

Mrs Roberts - who is separated from her husband - told the documentary: "Everyone loves to think that the doctors can have these almighty powers and heal us and do the right thing by us and oh yes, they really care, but I beg to differ."

She added: "Death by doctor is very common, but thankfully, because of the internet these days a number of us have educated ourselves. There's so many other options that we've been deprived of, denied."

In December, a High Court judge ruled that Neon could receive radiotherapy for the tumour, against the wishes of Mrs Roberts.

Mr Roberts said his son was almost half way through his chemotherapy treatment.

"Neon is recovering well. He is much steadier on his feet these days. Both his physical strength and inner confidence are growing on a daily basis," he explained.

"The doctors are happy with his progress although we would all like to see him eating more as he is still under weight and not putting on as much as we would like to see.

"His hair is growing back nicely and his skin around his radiotherapy treatment areas is much softer, less dry and no longer slightly discoloured.

"He is almost half way through his chemotherapy treatment now and is coping well with the monotonous routine blood tests and trips in and out of various hospitals.

"It is admirable and humbling when I see how he just gets on with it all and does not complain at all. (He is) an inspiration to all that have been close to him through this incredibly testing journey."

You're Killing My Son: The Mum Who Went On The Run will be screened on Channel 4 at 9pm on Tuesday.