Tragic Drew allowed home to spend last hours with his parents

By Emma Evans in Local People

LITTLE Drew Barker-Wright has tragically lost his battle with cancer, spending his last precious hours with his parents as they watched films beside him at their Talgarth home.

The four-year-old had been bravely battling a rare form of cancer, but when doctors told his parents Mel Barker and Jon Wright that there was nothing else they could do for their son, the couple chose to bring him home.

Mel, of Regent Street, Talgarth, said: "After slipping into a coma on Tuesday and being told that there was nothing more ICU could do for him clinically, we took the difficult decision to bring him home. With the help of Birmingham Children’s Hospital we arrived home Thursday evening. After a night on the sofa in his favourite spot, watching movies with mummy and daddy, he left us for a better place, with no more pain."

The only child of Mel and Jon spent the last few months battling the rare Chordoma cancer, a rare primary bone cancer, which affects the base of the skull the vertebrae and the coccyx at the base of the spine.

Medics at Birmingham Children’s Hospital carried out chemotherapy to attempt to shrink the tumours, with the hope of removing the tumour with surgery, but the procedure was fraught with risks as the tumours were so close to the spinal cord, brainstem and nerves around the base of the brain.

Drew’s plight touched the hearts of Talgarth residents and surrounding communities, inspiring scores of well-wishers to raise funds to enable the family to keep a bedside vigil in Birmingham and pay for treatment outside of the UK. Within weeks of his diagnosis, a Justgiving page was set up and more than £18,000 was raised in several weeks. Local businesses, such as the Baker’s Table held a number of funding raising events, bringing the total raised to almost £50,000 to make sure that Mel and Jon could spend every minute they had with the son they tried for six years to conceive. People from across Mid Wales pledged their support, the most recent being Paul Morris and Mark O’Loughlin who planned to cycle from John O’Groats to Lands End to do their bit to help raise funds for life-saving treatment for the three-year-old.

Former police officer Mark O’Loughlin said he and his friend Paul Morris were so moved by the Barker-Wright’s plight that they were compelled to take action.

The 50-year-old said: "We decided to cycle from John O’Groats to Lands End a while ago but we didn’t just want to do it for no reason. We have been looking for a good cause and this one truly broke our hearts.

"By taking on this cycle challenge we would like to raise as much as possible to assist in the huge effort being made by the family, friends and the local community."

Drew’s family have paid tribute to the local community for their ongoing support.

Mel added: "As a family we have been so grateful to be able to stay together through this ordeal."

Drew’s funeral will be held at 12.30pm on Tuesday, March 7, at St. Gwendoline’s Church in Talgarth.