I find myself a little numb at the moment. This is strange and I know this. I think it is my survival mode – I put the emotions in compartments in my brain.

Today I am once again sat waiting at a hospital whilst someone I love is fighting for his life. The doctors very kindly for 2 days have kept asking myself and Ian if we are ok, have we got any questions, would we like a tour of ICU so we don’t get a surprise there; We are as ok as we can be, no more questions as our lists have already been ticked off and no we don’t really need a tour of the ICU as we know it very well….too well.

It is the first day since Oscar died where I must not allow myself to think too much about him. The compartments gets muddled up and I lose focus. Surely no one loses both their son and husband to cancer this cruelly? No child loses their dad and their brother like that? And so we are back to my biggest fear; my children, my boys having to live through more cruelty and me having to navigate them through it, but this time without my rock? Lets park this one in the top secret department and lock it up well!

So now I am currently going through the different scenarios that may happen today and in my mind picturing my responses to these – effectively picking out my emotions and reactions from the correct compartments ready to use. There are a few different outcomes available today. In a few hours I will know what kind of tears I will be crying.

So here we go again, I am giving up control to a brilliant medical team that will do everything they can for the love of my life, the most amazing dad to our children and I am hoping my tears will be of relief and joy.

Dragon Boat Race 2017

Dragon Boat Race 2017

OSCAR's PBTC are proudly taking part in the York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge on Sunday 9th July.

We are entering an incredibly strong team of 16 Paddlers, 4 Support and reserves paddlers, and a Drummer - probably the most crucial job. Thank you very much to all who have decided to join the team.

The event will have entertainment, live music and stalls. All activities will be centred on the Railway Station (south) side of the river between Scarborough Bridge and Lendal Bridge.

Everyone is welcome at the event, so please come along and show your support for our team. All money raised is split with and

Racing will commence at 10am and continue throughout the day to finish between 4pm and 5pm. There will be a total of 36 teams participating, with four boats racing at a time in sets of heats.

The teams will battle it out on the River Ouse (between Scarborough Railway Bridge and Lendal Bridge) for the Challenge Trophy and other prestigious awards,  including awards for the fastest Charity Team, fastest Armed Services Team, and of course the "Best Dressed Team" trophy.
The 250 metre course starts just downstream of Scarborough Bridge and finishes close to the YCRC Clubhouse, just upstream of Lendal Bridge. Crews will board their boats from the steps in front of the Clubhouse.

Dragon Boat Course
Dragon Boat Course

The York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge has been held annually since 2003.

Kindly organised by the Rotary Club of York, their aim is to raise £1,000,000 for charities like ours and others in the local area.

The prizes are as follows:

  1. The Challenge Trophy - Presented to the winner of the Grand Final -  along with a cheque for £100 for their chosen charity
  2. The Fastest Times - these are awards for the fastest time in any of the races in which they participate, and are made to the teams NOT winning the Challenge Trophy:
    • The Charity Cup for the fastest "Charity" Team  along with a cheque for £50 for their chosen charity
    • The Merlin Cup for the fastest "Armed Services" Team along with a cheque for £50 for their chosen charity
    • The Ouse Cup for the fastest "Civilian" Team and a cheque for £50  for their chosen charity
    • Tailenders Trophy for the slowest time

To  donate, please remember to reference Dragon Boat 2017  - the money will be transferred to the Rotary Club for distribution:

Sort Code: 40 -52-40

Account Number: 00026548

Our account is ‘OSCAR’s PBTC’.

Please include your name in the reference field so that we know who to thank!

Or donate here:

Complete Fitness Boot Camp 2017

We are delighted to be one of the selected charities for Complete Fitness York’s family charity bootcamp. Thank you very much Paula North and her colleagues.

Date: Saturday 8th July

Time: 09.00-09.45

Followed by breakfast, toy and cake sale

Venue: Dunnington Sport's Club Football field

Suggested bootcamp donations: £5 adults, £2.50 per child

Toy and cake donations gratefully received


Children remain the responsibility of parents/guardians at all times during the event. Please advise Paula of any inuries/illnesses prior to the event in order that appropriate alternative exercises can be offered

Please spread the word - the more the merrier!

You can donate here


Coast to Coast Burnstall

Coast to Coast 2017


Thank you to the team who rode from Morecombe to Bridlington in one day raising over £5,000 for OSCAR's PBT. It was an amazing challenge of endurance riding from the Irish Sea to the North Sea within 24 hours.

The team of five left Morecombe at 7.30am and arrived in Bridlington at 10pm. The journey consisted of 170 miles, 8,000 calories for each team member and an average riding speed of 16mph. Approximately 4000m of ascent, 10 litres of fluids and numerous energy gels each, it was a real show of team work and comeradery. The route followed the Sustrans "Way of the Roses" which is normally ridden over three days.

Way of the roses
Way of the roses
Way of the roses route
Way of the roses route

You can still donate and show your appreciation of the effort via our Justgiving page:

Here are some images from the day:

Way of the Roses
Way of the Roses



On June 9th 2017, 100 children, their families and friends set off from Llanberis to climb Snowdon - an 8 mile climb with 1000m of ascent via the Llanberis path to raise money for OSCAR's PBTC.

This was the first Family Challenge Weekend that we have organised, and it was sold out in just over a week. It was a resounding success, with Bear Grylls, Simon Mayo and other media getting behind the event too.

Even if the weather was probably the worst that the mountain could have thrown at us in summer, the children were amazing. On the morning we left, the weather forecast was for 80mph winds on the summit of Snowdon with driving rain and temperatures around 10 degrees C.

Working with a local company, Climb Snowdon who provided professional mountain guides, the event was always incredibly safe and well organised. Unfortunately due to safety concerns we were not able to summit, but the children and their families were able to get a high as was considered safe. Even the Snowdon rangers and an Everest summiteer agreed that they would go no further either.

We were so proud of all the children who showed amazing resilience in horrendous weather, and incredibly raised over £20k towards funding research into brain tumours in children.


It is what it is...


I can’t count how many times I have used the expression ‘it is what it is’.

It is my get out of explaining myself to others; my ‘I don’t want to talk’ expression. I used it when my eldest son had a serious operation after he was born, I used it again when my husband had cancer seven years ago, and I used it time and time again when Oscar got diagnosed, went through treatment, relapsed and died. And now I have to say it again; it is what it is.

My family’s world has been rocked again, and over the next months or year we will close in on ourselves and once more submerge into the land of hospital visits, cancer treatment, insecurity, fear, pain, strength, courage and survival.

You’d think we’ve had enough, but life doesn’t work like that; we see that all over the world when we look at child poverty, famine, war-torn countries with innocent people having their lives destroyed, families suffering through no fault of their own. So we have to have perspective – again – and at least we can look to the medical profession and trust what they can do.

We have to explain to our children that although Oscar died, it doesn’t mean everyone dies of cancer. The difficult part of course for me is that all my silent prayers and all the research and knocking on doctors doors didn’t save Oscar because he had a brain tumour a little too early for paediatric brain tumour research to have caught up with other cancer research.

I have to find some superhuman strength that right now I am not sure exists.  But of course it has to exist, because no one else is going to do this for me. And really, I have the easier of the jobs: I have to look after our family whilst my husband battles an invisible enemy he has not asked to fight but which has decided to fight him and he has to survive so he can stay with us.

I have of course told him that there is no way he is leaving, not now.  And he should know better than to go against my wishes. As tempting as it is to join Oscar, no-one in this family will willingly do so without a fight. Oscar is already in our hearts, our minds and our souls every day and we plan to stay put together as a family.

So back to the juicing, the googling of all things alternative that won’t interfere with the treatment, the shopping for items that are going to make that one little bit of difference in recovery, the meals on wheels from family and friends, the countless phone-calls to the doctors with my latest discovery, the all night messaging with friends to run passed my latest ideas, the smiling to everyone in the playground telling them all: it is what it is.


The Major Series North Team

Major Series 2017


18 March 2017

VENUE: Bramham Park, Leeds

The Major's Northern event on 18 March 2017 will once again be held in the stately grounds of Bramham Park, near Leeds, and promises much of the same as last year - but worse.

We run across muddy bogs, through cold-water lakes, wild terrain and amazing obstacle zones.

Last year we had the largest number of runners of any Major Series event ever running for the charity. We had a blast navigating ‘concept zones’ in awesome military themes, where we were bombarded with smoke, explosions, unexpected smells, sounds and music.

More info on the obstacles here but suffice to say you’ll get very wet, very muddy and have a lot of fun!

How you tackle the course is entirely up to you – race your friends to see who can finish first, take your time and enjoy the view, or do it with a group of friends at your own pace. It’ll be lots of fun however you approach it.

We are delighted to offer you the opportunity to take part in the 2017 Major Series and if you wish to join us, please email

Get involved in this brilliant event (over 17s only)

How to enter:

Email your interest to Phil and he will send you a link for your sign up.

Major series North 17

Hope is stronger than fear

It happens in life that we find at some point that we are not the only ones to walk a certain path or go through a certain experience. That is normally a great thing – there is comfort in sharing and feeling part of a group.  One group no one wants to be part of, though, is the ‘parents of children with cancer’ group.  This past month another little boy close to some friends of ours was diagnosed with a brain tumour – the same as Oscar’s – and it devastated me.  This boy has all the best medical experts and support around him and his family to ensure that he will get through this, and even in the relatively short time since our charity launched there is new research underway that will one day change how these tumours are treated. I’m so proud that the work that we’ve done in the last 2.5 years allows us to be part of this ground-breaking research.

This little boy’s diagnosis reminded me of the frustrations I felt when Oscar was ill. I would go for drives at night time when no one else was on the roads and I would use the car to scream in - it is very much out of my comfort zone to scream, but it needed to be done sometimes and it would make things a little easier to manage. Needless to say I always felt a little stupid just in case someone saw me (I don’t think they did, but if so then I am most likely not the only crazy person driving around screaming life’s pain out!).

Now I tend to cry more than scream, but I still use my car as the place where I let my emotions run wild; some days I can chat happily away in my car keeping Oscar up to date on what we’re doing, but inevitably I always end up crying a little. It is still so hard to keep it together every day so I have to have my outlet. I often stop the car somewhere, have a good cry, look at myself in the mirror and tell myself that we’ll be fine. I look into my eyes and will myself not to cry anymore, then I tap my cheeks a bit – sometimes they need slightly harder slapping – to start looking normal again, breathe deeply and centre everything inside me. I have never done yoga or meditation or any of that but I have my own method of focusing and aligning points inside myself. I am a great believer of mind over matter – ironic I know!

While it was not to be for Oscar, the fight against brain tumours continues and the work we do keeps me focused.  Knowing that the funds we have raised so far are being used on research programmes that could one day change how children with brain tumours are treated is a surreal place to be in after such a short time.  Knowing we can provide some kind of hope to other families makes me so proud of what all our supporters and fundraisers have achieved.

This boy’s family needs hope – hope can carry you through the darkest of times.  They found our charity and can see the potential difference the research we aim to fund can make to children like their boy.  They are a strong family and I want to deliver more hope to them.  If only I could deliver it wrapped up and make it carry them through the coming months as their son goes through treatment. I can’t do that, but I can carry on with the work that the charity is doing and continue to raise funds to fight paediatric brain tumours.  This weekend I’ll be joined by 84 other people running through mud and over obstacles in the Major Series North.  We’ve run it previously for Oscar but this time we’re doing it for a little boy and his family who need all our strength, hope and courage.





Oscar The Scientist

Happy 12th birthday

Tomorrow my beautiful boy would have been 12 years old......I've got a picture in my mind of how I think he would have looked. I can't believe he is not here, next to me & Ian and next to his brothers. The world seems an evil place tonight. Tonight I won't pretend I can manage. I will go to bed and cry all night and there will be no talking of how lucky I was to have him or how wonderful a life he did have in the 9 years he was here. There will just be a black hole of hurt and pain where nothing makes sense and I will allow the question of why to stand. I will ask it again and again knowing I will never get an answer and certainly knowing that there could be no answer justifying ending my beautiful boys life. Tonight is a dark vicious night. And tomorrow we will get up and take his brothers out and we will be together and try and make it a good day, but we will all know that it won't and can't be. It will be one more day without Oscar that he should have enjoyed, one where he should have been excited about family and a birthday party with his friends and his presents. Oscar's last normal birthday was his 7th - On his 8th he was ill and a few days later we got his diagnosis and on his 9th he was going through treatment and unbeknown to us had potentially already relapsed. I can't remember what we did for his 7th birthday, but I sure hope it was good.

Pictures from OSCAR's Head Dress Ball

Here's some pictures from our inaugural Head Dress Ball.