In May 2013, two weeks after his twentieth birthday, Reece Hawley, a strong, fit and healthy young man, had a bleed on the brain. He had surgery, during which it was discovered that the bleed was caused by an AVM (Arteriovenous Malformation, a tangle of abnormal veins and arteries, which can cause haemorrhage if rupture occurs). It was removed and the surgeon, Reece and his family believed him to have been cured. However, five days later the results of his pathology report revealed a high grade, aggressive, malignant brain tumour.
Reece went on to have the standard treatment of six weeks daily radio/chemotherapy followed by six cycles of chemotherapy, which he flew through with hardly any side effects. He responded well to treatment and an MRI scan in October 2013 showed no enhancement or re-occurrence. Then suddenly Reece began experiencing severe headaches and other unusual symptoms and had to be hospitalised. An MRI scan revealed two new tumours just outside of the radiation perimeter. As he has already had two forms of treatment on the NHS, only one more cycle of chemotherapy is available. Once completed, Reece will have exhausted all treatment available on the NHS.
Reece’s family are now looking to fundraise as much as they can to give Reece more options. These would include consultations with Neuro-Oncologists around the world and other methods of treatment. One type of treatment in particular, Avastin, has been recommended by Reece’s Oncologist. Avastin was, up until last year, available and provided by the NHS but unfortunately funding for this was pulled at the recommendation of NICE, the watchdog for the NHS, as they felt it was too expensive. This has left those in Reece’s position no choice but to fund themselves at approximately £4,000 per cycle every two weeks.
Reece’s mum Karen is doing all she can to help her son and has spearheaded a huge campaign in the UK, which has seen Reece’s story covered in national press and on TV. She remains optimistic and has this to say about her son, his illness and their fundraising efforts.
“Reece has his whole life stretching ahead of him with so many hopes and dreams to fulfil. He is a gentle, friendly, loving and selfless person that will always put others before himself and we are so proud to have him as part of our family. He has promised his girlfriend of nearly four years that he will try anything but the unfortunate thing is that it seems no-one has anything much to offer him to try.
Reece was extremely poorly at the beginning of July, suffering from nausea and extreme headaches. We were told on July 5th after he suffered two major seizures in hospital to start saying our goodbyes; however this boy had other ideas! He has fought back and taken even his doctors by surprise. He is now back to being his old self and we have been told we can go forward with treatment.
Reece is always looking on the positive side of things and always wears a smile on his face.Reece is a real inspiration and has said that if his life had to end now he is really grateful for the 21 years that he has already had. His words were that he feels his upbringing was the best and he has been lucky enough to meet the girl of his dreams.
This breaks our hearts and makes us feel so helpless, we would do anything within our power to help him. We understand that not everyone is in the position to spare money but any help that can be provided, including raising awareness of this predicament that those diagnosed with brain tumours find themselves in, is extremely appreciated.”
Ibiza resident Dawn Hudson is a close friend of the family’s and has organised a fundraising event here in Ibiza on Wednesday 27th August. It will be held from 3pm in The Smugglers Inn in Cala De Bou. I spoke to Dawn this week to find out more about the event.
“We have Beatmania and Glen Marples and friends playing live sets, Dr Feelgood DJing, who is going to do pay for play for requests and Jeff Couch in the stocks! We’ve also got face painting for the kids, a BBQ, raffle and auction. The local community has been amazing and so generous, with everyone giving more than I could ask for. Prizes such as sunset boat trips, meals for two with drinks in the most popular restaurants and VIP tickets to clubs have been donated, as well as things like days labouring, house cleaning, makeovers, haircuts and manicures. We really need some visual prizes like drink, merchandise, toys etc for the raffle. If anyone can help here please get in touch.
I know it’s August and a lot of people are busy, but please try to come down and if not buy raffle tickets, on sale in Smugglers and Kiss my Fairy. If any other musicians want to take part or businesses or individuals want to donate a prize, please message me through Facebook or email
The money is important but we also want Reece and his family to see all the support for him.”
If you would like any further information regarding Reece’s progress, please contact [email protected]
or follow Reece’s journey through his facebook page ‘Reece Tumournater Hawley’.
To make a donation, visit
or come to the event at Smugglers Inn on 27th August.
Dig deep, people. Let’s help this incredible young man as much as we can.