Mother’s pain after son dies weeks after cancer diagnosis

Dougal Roberts was just nine years old when he passed away from Glioblastoma in January.

Jill has been left heartbroken following the death of her son. <strong>STV</strong>
Jill has been left heartbroken following the death of her son. STV

Reporting by Sharon Donaldson

A mother has opened up about how her son died just four weeks after being diagnosed with a rare brain tumour.

Jill Roberts, from Aberdeen, lost her nine-year-old son Dougal earlier this year after he was diagnosed in December with Glioblastoma, one of the deadliest forms of brain cancer.

Just four weeks later in January, he passed away from the disease.


“He was my angel,” recalls his mother Jill.

“From day one he was obsessed with dinosaurs. He had a real joy for life.

“It didn’t matter what we were doing, as long as he was with me and his sister, he was delighted.

“He made it easy to be a good mum.”


Jill says she was shocked when she learned that just 3% of the overall UK cancer research budget goes into researching brain tumours.

“I was absolutely horrified. To be told there was no action, there was no path to take for Dougal, was just completely unacceptable to me,” she said.

“It’s the largest cancer-killer of children and young adults and sadly once you’re in this world, you realise how not-rare they are.

“It’s something people don’t want to talk about because they can’t bear to think about it and I understand that, but burying our heads in the sand and hoping it doesn’t affect us doesn’t help.”

The shock of losing her young son so quickly to cancer has been difficult for the whole family, in particular Jill’s daughter Jessie.

“We’re broken. We’re all broken. His sister has lost her best friend as well as her brother.

“I was very lucky in that they didn’t fight. My brother and I fought all the time when we were growing up.


“My children didn’t, they would hug each other in the morning because they missed each other overnight.

“They didn’t need other friends because they obviously had each other.”

In memory of her son, Jill will be taking part in the first Twilight Walk in the north-east on Sunday to raise funds for the Brain Tumour Charity.

“We can’t make sense of it. I can’t accept that he’s gone. I can’t accept that I couldn’t protect him,” she says.

“So the only thing I can do is to work with the charity and to try to stop this happening to anyone else.”

The north-east 10k Twilight Walk will take place on Sunday November 3 at Duthie Park in Aberdeen.

For more information, visit the Twilight Walk event page.

For information and support contact The Brain Tumour Charity on 0808 800 0004 or email [email protected] 

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