A terminally ill boy has used his Facebook page to announce his heartbreaking decision to refuse life-prolonging treatment after a six-year battle with cancer.
Eleven-year-old Reece Puddington, who drew up a Bucket List of things he wanted to achieve before he died, used a status update on his page to tell friends he wants to make the most of his final days at home with his family.
He told friends on Facebook that he could no longer face the demands of more gruelling treatment and wished to let 'nature take its course'.
He wrote: "My mum had always hoped over the last five to six years that she would have the courage to know when enough was enough. After careful consideration, my mum thought that if she was doing it for herself she would keep sending me for treatment as she wouldn't want to let me go, but if she was doing it for me she'd let me go. Well, she's letting me go....."
Reece, from Seasalter, Kent, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma – a cancer of the nervous system which affects around 100 children a year – in 2008.
He has kept friends and family updated on his condition with regular blog postings on Facebook, attracting a growing following.
He broke the latest news in a posting, last Thursday, entitled 'The Beginning of the End', writing: "As you know after the latest scan results I was sent home to rest and think over the 2 possible options ...
"I could opt for another trial, but this would mean travelling a lot to the hospital and coping with the side effects, but could also hopefully extend my life, or ...
"I could simply do nothing, stay at home and let nature take its course which would lead to me loosing my life slightly earlier than if I'd had more treatment."
He then said he was taking the second option. His mum Kay, who helps Reece write his blog, said: "The whole family was in agreement, it would be unfair on him to continue trying to treat him.
"I had to know when enough was enough. Reece has been so good, he never moans really. Reece is tired. He preferred being home and just got tired of the whole regime. So the rest of the family took on board how he felt and we made the decision to end his treatment.
"He would have gone onto new drugs, but they all are made of something similar. The side affects are always sickness, fatigue and nausea. He didn't want to keep doing it, he was fed up."
She added: "The decision has been a breath of fresh air for Reece, not to have to go to the hospital means a lot to him."
After his diagnosis in May 2008, Reece had chemotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital, in Sutton, Surrey.
After treatment, the cancer, which had started in a gland above his kidney, went into remission. But he fell ill again in August 2012 and his family were told that this time the condition would be terminal.
Tests revealed it had spread to his bone marrow, chest, the left side of his pelvis and his right thigh bone.
Since then, Reece had drawn up a 'bucket list', of things he wanted to do before he died.
This included seeing his mother learn to drive so they could go out on day trips, and also go out for a breakfast at a Wetherspoons.
Kay, 40, passed her test when she was 17, but forgot how to drive when she could not afford a car. It meant that she and Reece were housebound during the day when her husband Paul, 48, was at work as a sales assistant for Sainsbury's. She has now learned to drive once more.
She said: "I'm so glad I learned to drive in that time. We haven't been able to go on any trips just yet, as Reece has had a rough few days. But we're hoping to go on a drive along the coast."
The only outstanding items on Reece's list are: a bedroom of his own, to see the film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, a holiday to Sun City, South Africa, and to meet the actor Johnny Depp, dressed as the character Captain Jack Sparrow, from the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Kay added: "Unfortunately Reece won't be able to manage the holiday. He has been so incredibly brave and I'm so proud of him."
Reece said: "I've been overwhelmed by all the support. It's really made a difference to me. All the letters and little gifts people have sent have really helped me through everything. I'm very grateful."
REECE'S BUCKET LIST
An Alienware Laptop ...(as I can no longer get out of bed)
A bedroom of my own.
An Xbox one (I'm gaming mad)
To see the Hobbit - Desolation of Smaug movie.
To collect £1000 in £20 notes (I've already got to £540!)
A money clip to hold all the money
A holiday to Sun City in South Africa (I've always wanted to go since seeing the destination on Worlds Strongest Man)
Meet Johnny Depp dressed in character as Captain Jack Sparrow (my favourite movies)
A Whetherspoons(sic) breakfast with my favourite people
A Wikipad gaming pad (just cause they look quite cool)
To have a Hobbit House in my back garden (how cool is that )
I'd love to see my mum learn to drive (it's been too long)
A black beats pill.
A blue PS4 controller.
• To go to Reece's Just Giving page, click here.
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