'My boy died from cancer - we can't keep sticking our heads in the sand'

Rudi Abbot died in January from a rare brain tumour - and dad Ben is calling for more investment into the disease.

An Edinburgh dad who lost his eight-year-old son to cancer has pleaded for more visibility for children affected.

Rudi Abbot died in January earlier this year from a pineoblastoma brain tumour after being diagnosed in August 2020.

The youngster underwent gruelling chemotherapy and surgery, then was a pilot patient in a cancer trial to extend his life in the US last year.

But doctors delivered the devastating news to his family that nothing more could be done in December 2022.

Rudi’s father Ben has thanked the local community, especially Heart of Midlothian football club, for their support during the difficult period. He said he feels young people with cancer need to be front and centre.

He told STV News: “There needs to be a change where we’re not just mourning children, we actually should be more invested in childhood cancer as a whole.

“It shouldn’t be something that we stick our heads in the sand and then a child dies and then we celebrate that child or we mourn that child. We should be more inclusive in general.”

Rudi’s death was marked by Hearts with a rainbow-themed night and a round of applause in the eighth minute of a match against St Mirren on January 13.

The boy’s family said he had a unique spirit.

Ben said: “We all feel really lucky to have had him in the first place, because we genuinely feel like he was a one-off. With Rudi, there was always to be something a little extra special, so we’re sort of blessed to have had him.”

A fundraiser is under way to plant a tree and build a memorial bench at Towerbank Primary, where Rudi went to school.

The hope is that the bench could be in place by September when his younger sister Iris starts P1.

Headteacher Alasdair Friend said: “Rudi was an amazing child, he was friendly, really popular and had an amazing contribution to Towerbank.

“What we want to do is recognise that all children leave their mark on a school in many different ways and we want Rudi’s mark on Towerbank to be perhaps more permanent and lasting legacy.”

The GoFundMe page for Rudi’s memorial bench and tree can be found here.

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