Running for Milo

Aged just two, Milo was rushed across the world to get the best care possible when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Living in Hong Kong with his parents and little sister Poppy, Milo has a happy and healthy little boy who seemed to be thriving. It was in the summer of 2014 that Milo’s mum, Samantha (above, with Milo), became concerned that he was growing too quickly.

Quite the week

“I took him to his paediatrician on the Wednesday. That day, Milo had a bone X-ray to check his bone age, and he was referred to another specialist. On Thursday, he had an MRI scan which confirmed a tumour on his left adrenal gland.”

Milo was diagnosed with an adrenal cortical carcinoma – a rare and cancerous tumour near his kidney. His dad was on a trip to the UK at the time, and the family had to make a quick decision about Milo’s future care.

“The medical team in Hong Kong were very quick to say Milo needed an operation, but I was worried it was all moving too fast,” remembers Samantha, “Luckily, we knew a paediatric specialist in the UK who recommended we come back home so Milo could be seen by an expert.”

The family were put in touch with the team at GOSH and Milo had an appointment scheduled for the following Monday. “It was quite the week!”

Time at GOSH

Milo returned to the UK that weekend with his dad (below), with Samantha and Poppy following as soon as possible. “We literally dropped everything in Hong Kong to come home, but when we got to GOSH we felt we were in the right hands. The multi-disciplinary approach at the hospital made sense to us – the lead consultant explained how all the different people and teams involved in Milo’s care fitted together.”

Doctors at GOSH spent three weeks monitoring and assessing Milo’s condition before he underwent a successful operation in August 2014. He remained on Rainforest endocrinology ward for a further 12 days. Samantha really values the time that consultants took to explain things, and is also appreciative of the work of the nurses on Milo’s ward. “They worked around the clock for Milo and us. I remember one nurse coming in to do overtime to look after him, because she wanted to. It really stood out.”

“You can’t just break down. It was a shocking time, the diagnosis was completely out of the blue, but then at GOSH we saw there are people in worse situations. We met quite a few very resilient parents, so we counted ourselves fortunate for having family who could help, a place to stay. It puts it all in perspective.” 

A bright future

Milo, now 5, and his family are happy living back in the UK. He continues to have regular check-ups at GOSH and has just started Year One at primary school.

“if you saw Milo, you might think he was seven or eight from how tall he is – his tumour made him grow! We’re quite open with him that he had a naughty tumour in his tummy that needed to be taken out, and then his check-ups are just to make sure it’s not come back. He likes seeing everyone in the X-Ray department and he knows his doctors.”

On 8 October 2017, Samantha is running the Royal Parks Half Marathon to support GOSH and help more children like Milo. “I wanted to take part and support GOSH because they’ve done so much for us. I work full time with two young children and have been doing an MA on the side, so it has been challenging to find time for training! But it’s amazing to be running in such a beautiful environment – it’s going to be a great challenge!

Want to do something extraordinary? Take on a challenge event to help seriously ill children from across the UK at Great Ormond Street Hospital. From treks and triathlons, to marathons and skydives, there’s a challenge to suit you – find out more.