Ted's Backstory

In loving memory of
Edward ‘Ted’ Oliver Neal
04.12.20 - 09.04.22

Ted’s parents found out they were expecting a very long awaited third baby during the first week of lockdown in March, 2020. With an age gap of 13 years between him and his older brothers Benjamin & Charlie, his family couldn’t wait to enjoy all of those ‘firsts’ one last time. Ted was the most delightful baby. He bought sunshine with him wherever he went, everyone who met him instantly fell in love.

When Ted was 8 months old his mum noticed something was wrong with one of his eyes. She couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was but it just looked different. After watching for a week for any signs of infection or inflammation, Ted’s parents, Lee & Jess, took him to A&E to have it checked out, which is where their world came crashing down around them.

Ted was immediately referred for an emergency MRI scan, and within a few days he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in his sinus, which had already spread to his skull base. The type of cancer was unknown at that point, but was later diagnosed as Mesenchymal Chondrosarcoma, a very rare and aggressive type of solid tumour. The location of the tumour made surgery impossible at that point, so Ted was started on aggressive chemotherapy to hopefully reduce the size.

During his chemotherapy treatment, Ted battled sepsis and malnutrition from constant vomiting, and spent the majority of the next 8 months in and out of hospital. Despite all that he was going though though, he was still that same little ray of sunshine he always had been.

Ted had a monster of a surgery in December 2021 at Great Ormond Street Hospital, to remove the tumour. This surgery was even more successful than his medical team had anticipated and Ted’s mum Jess was told that in early March 2022, after a scan to check out a new lump that had formed on Ted’s forehead, that he was cancer free!

In the days after this scan, during an admission into hospital for his 11th cycle of chemotherapy, Ted’s heath started to decline rapidly. Another scan was performed and showed hydrocephalus, a build up of excess fluid in Ted’s brain, so he had emergency surgery to put a temporary drain in to his brain to relieve the pressure. At this point his medical team still couldn’t understand why this was happening.

A few days later, Ted had more surgery to put a permanent shunt into his brain to stop the fluid building up in the future. He had another MRI scan 2 days later to check that it was in the right place, and at this point Ted’s parents were told that there was an area of his brain that looked like there may be infection, or could potentially be cancer. They would have to watch and wait for a few weeks before another scan was performed.

Ted’s parents didn’t need to wait that long to find out the news. Within a few days Ted’s shunt was blocked and he began to display worrying neurological symptoms, and constant pain. Another scan was performed and on 25th March 2022, Ted’s parents were taken to a quiet room and told that the devastating news that the cancer had metastized to their beautiful little boy’s brain and spinal cord very, very quickly. There was nothing more that could be done to save his life, now they just had to keep him comfortable. That same day, Ted was taken down to theatre for yet another emergency surgery to remove the blocked shunt and replace it.

Beautiful little Ted passed away just 15 days later, on 9th April.