“I never ever thought there could be something wrong with his brain or brain cancer – Conor was only 5 years old,” said Conor’s mum, Connie.
Last year The Kids’ Cancer Project had the absolute pleasure of meeting an inspiring young man named Conor.
Conor calls the city of Joondalup home, northwest of Perth on Western Australia’s Sunset Coast. Conor is the second youngest of seven children to parents Connie and Nathan Colgan.
When Conor was just five years’ old he was diagnosed with a brain tumour after a prolonged illness, initially thought to be a stomach virus.
Investigative scans revealed the worst news, little Conor had a brain tumour, the size of an egg. He was rushed to surgery that night.
Conor recovered well after his surgery but the shock of the diagnosis and immediacy of his surgery left the rest of his brothers and sister’s reeling unsure of how to cope with their mixed emotions of grief, fear and uncertainty for their little brother.
Aisling was just 12 when Conor was diagnosed. To cope she would write poetry as way to express her sadness and process what had happened.
“You feel completely helpless watching your little brother so sick, we all got through as best we could. Writing was outlet for the pain and confusion I had around Conor’s diagnosis,” said Aisling now 17 years old.
In twelve months Conor’s health declined and he again required surgery, surgery which was more aggressive. Surgeons completely removed the tumour but Conor lost facial nerves which controlled his motion and feeling in his right side.
“Although Conor has had everything thrown at him to beat his cancer, he still enjoys school, being with his friends, being involved in play and activities,” said Connie.
Conor's dad, Nathan, spoke of how he inspired by his son every day.
“He challenges himself he doesn’t let what happen to him get him down too much," said Nathan. "He’s taught himself to write with his left hand and he’s learning electric guitar!"
"He loves music and singing and we’ll often hear him singing in the morning when he gets up or in the car when we are off to school," said the proud dad.
Conor has revealed a fighting and determined spirit who is now inspiring people around Australia to support research into brain cancer. The Colgan family started Pirate Day Friday in 2015 to help raise funds for childhood brain cancer research. In that first year, the initiative raised over $140,000 for kids' brain cancer research. And it was all inspired by Conor and his need to wear a patch to protect his eye as he can no longer blink.
Founder and Director of the kids' cancer project, Col Reynolds OAM, says he'll never give up working to find better treatments and cures for kids like Conor.
“Kids like Conor are our inspiration to keep fighting,” Col said. “They don’t give up and neither will we”.
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