A brave six-year-old boy with a “Superman scar” from a liver transplant wants to celebrate being cancer free by meeting his own superhero – Stormzy.
When Tommy Webster of Banstead, Surrey first had a stomach ache in May 2020, he was classified as constipated. It wasn’t until May that he was diagnosed with stage four hepatoblastoma – a rare liver cancer that affects only 10 to 15 children in the UK each year – and given a 50/50 chance of survival.
Now, after 13 hours of surgery – which included operations on his lungs and a full liver transplant – as well as strenuous chemotherapy, he delighted both his doctors and mother Kirstie Webster when he was declared cancer-free.
Single parent Kirstie, 32, a full-time mom who has two other children – Lexie, seven, and Teddy, two, with Tommy’s father, said, “He loves Stormzy and he’d love to meet him.
“It’s amazing how well Tommy has adapted. I get very tearful and upset when I talk about it, but my little boy has never had a smile on his face.”
Following Tommy’s shocking diagnosis, Kirstie raised over £ 8,000 through a GoFundMe page hoping to make his dreams – including a trip to Disneyland – come true.
Although he hasn’t given up visiting the magical US theme park, the travel restrictions on Covid-19 mean his dream of meeting rapper and grime star Stormzy – famous for hits like Vossi Bop and Own It with singer Ed Sheeran and rapper Burna Boy – have priority for the time being.
“When he had radiation therapy, Tommy would listen to Stormzy’s music every day while he was having his treatment,” Kirstie said.
“I just want to do the best for my son and give him the life he deserves.”
Kirstie only discovered how seriously ill her little boy really was after spending eight weeks seeing doctors who mistakenly believed he was constipated when he developed persistent abdominal pain in March 2020.
After pressing for an ultrasound, he was referred to Epsom General Hospital in Surrey in late April 2020.
Tragically, another CT scan at the nearby Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton and a biopsy at King’s College Hospital in London revealed a tumor on Tommy’s liver that had spread to his lungs.
It’s amazing how well Tommy has adapted. I get very tearful and upset when I talk about it, but my little boy has never had a smile on his face.
He was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma in May. He started chemotherapy in early June but was rushed to the intensive care unit at St. George’s Hospital in Tooting, southwest London, when his oxygen levels dropped.
Despite this, Tommy regained enough strength due to his fighting spirit to continue treatment at the Royal Marsden – and even spent his sixth birthday at home on June 18, 2020.
But his treatment was relentless.
After three cycles of chemotherapy, he returned to St. George’s Hospital in October for a four-hour operation on his lungs. In doing so, surgeons “squeezed” the organs outside of his body to look for the lesions they needed to remove.
“You had his lungs in your hands outside of his body,” said Kirstie. “The surgeon squeezed his lungs in his hand.”
Then, to the amazement of his medical team, Tommy managed to blow bladders during his week and a half post-surgery hospital stays to prove that his lungs were intact.
Unfortunately, a tumor was “still” – meaning cancer cells were still alive – when it was removed from his lungs, which meant Tommy would need more chemotherapy.
Meanwhile, on November 13, Kirstie was awakened by a 2am phone call to the news that a donor liver had been found for Tommy, who had only been on the transplant list for 48 hours.
She said, “He had a bad tumor in his liver that they wanted to remove – but it was too deeply embedded in the organ – so it all had to be taken out.”
Kirstie continued, “We had a call at 2am to say he was top of the country list for a donor liver and an ambulance was coming to pick us up. There was no preparation – it was just a total “wow”.
“He had to go to Kings and have a liver transplant, which was successful. To date, he has shown no signs of rejection and it works amazingly and works the way it should. “
After a seven hour operation, Tommy was taken back to the intensive care unit, where Kirstie stayed by his side.
It was the worst time of our life. To get through something so dramatic and terrible I had to sit there and wait for him alone, it was terrible.
She remembered the days after his operation and said, “It was the worst time of our lives. To get through something so dramatic and terrible I had to sit there and wait for him alone, it was terrible. “
But the brave Tommy did it again – and even proudly showed his surgical scar.
“He came out and the first thing he wanted to do was eat and drink,” laughed Kirstie, adding, “He calls his liver scar his Superman scar and he’s proud of it and showing everyone he meets.”
And, after a wonderful family Christmas at home, on March 22nd, Tommy and his family got the news they had longed for.
Kirstie said, “We were told that Tommy had achieved total remission and the cancer was gone.
“It was a very emotional day, but very well deserved.”
Kirstie can’t fully relax just yet as there is still a chance Tommy’s cancer will recur.
As a preventive measure, he has another two weeks of chemotherapy ahead of him – this must be his last cycle. He started this final course on December 27th and left him anemic and dehydrated.
“He was given the liver to have the best chance of a normal life,” explained Kirstie.
She added, “If the cancer reappeared anywhere in his body, there wouldn’t be much more doctors could do.
“He’s going to be at pretty high risk for the first two years and if it came back it would be a pretty quick process which wasn’t nice to hear.”
Even so, Tommy’s incredible resilience continues to give hope to those who love him.
No parent should go through this with their child. You feel so helpless and hopeless. But Tommy was remarkable.
Kirstie said, “This is something no parent should go through with their child. You feel so helpless and hopeless.
“But Tommy was remarkable.
“I am amazed how happy he always is – but I think it depends on how we dealt with the situation.”
She continued, “He knows he has nothing to fear. We will be there and get over everything that comes our way.
“He knows he’s fine as long as we fight together.”
Returning to sophomore school at Banstead Infants School is Tommy and Kirstie’s next challenge on the horizon.
“After Easter, he’ll go in for an hour a day,” she said, adding that Tommy would also have hearing aids – since chemotherapy has affected his hearing, and a wheelchair if he needed them during the school day.
“I’m nervous – it feels like letting him out into the world again. The only thing he really missed was his math work!”
For Tommy, however, the more important goal is his dream of meeting his idol Stormzy.
Kirstie said, “Tommy and his older sister Lexie both love him.
“He went to radiation therapy every day and listened to his track Vossi Bop.
“It was a big part of our history and it would be nice for Stormzy to know the impact he had on my son while he was being treated.”
And Tommy agrees.
He said: “I want to meet Stormzy when I ring the doorbell after my chemotherapy ends in May to show that I am cancer free because he sings my favorite song Vossi Bop and I would be happy to meet him.”
To contribute to Tommy’s GoFundMe page, visit Here.