The Boy Kept Alive by Love

His body was riddled by deadly tumours and doctors said there was no hope. So 12-year-old Connah's grandparents launched their own quest for a miracle

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Connah Broom bursts into the house after school, followed by his grandad, Jim. The youngster has a cut lip, a bloody leg and is splattered in mud. ‘Don’t be too alarmed,’ Jim reassures his wife Debbie, who rolls her eyes, produces an ice pack and presses it to her grandson’s face.

Connah has just played his first game of rugby. ‘It was brilliant!’ he says, his voice full of euphoria.

He turned 12 this week, and enjoys a schedule of sporting activities that would make an Olympian blanch. Football is a consuming passion. He plays in defence and is an avid Manchester City supporter. 

Then there’s dance: rock ’n’ roll, street, jazz, modern, hip-hop. If he’s not rehearsing or performing in shows and competitions, then he is probably bouncing on his trampoline.All of which is miraculous when you consider that, seven years ago, doctors advised his grandparents to start planning his funeral.

Connah has a rare form of cancer, neuroblastoma, which attacks the nervous system. He was about to turn five when 11 aggressive tumours were detected, spreading swiftly and virulently throughout  his body.

Two courses of chemotherapy failed to abate them. Jim, 60, and Debbie, 58, were told to prepare for the worst. Modern medicine could not defeat the cancer, and Connah was going to die.

But not only has he stubbornly refused to oblige, he is also thriving, enjoying life and in robust health. More than that, ten of the tumours have disappeared. The primary tumour remains, but it is not growing. The Brooms’ most fervent hope is that it will stay dormant. Meanwhile, they are doing all they can to ensure that it does.

Connah Broom bursts into the house after school, followed by his grandad, Jim. The youngster has a cut lip, a bloody leg and is splattered in mud. ‘Don’t be too alarmed,’ Jim reassures his wife Debbie, who rolls her eyes, produces an ice pack and presses it to her grandson’s face.
Connah has just played his first game of rugby. ‘It was brilliant!’ he says, his voice full of euphoria.
He turned 12 this week, and enjoys a schedule of sporting activities that would make an Olympian blanch. Football is a consuming passion. He plays in defence and is an avid Manchester City supporter.
Then there’s dance: rock ’n’ roll, street, jazz, modern, hip-hop. If he’s not rehearsing or performing in shows and competitions, then he is probably bouncing on his trampoline.
All of which is miraculous when you consider that, seven years ago, doctors advised his grandparents to start planning his funeral.
Connah has a rare form of cancer, neuroblastoma, which attacks the nervous system. He was about to turn five when 11 aggressive tumours were detected, spreading swiftly and virulently throughout his body.
Two courses of chemotherapy failed to abate them. Jim, 60, and Debbie, 58, were told to prepare for the worst. Modern medicine could not defeat the cancer, and Connah was going to die.
But not only has he stubbornly refused to oblige, he is also thriving, enjoying life and in robust health. More than that, ten of the tumours have disappeared. The primary tumour remains, but it is not growing. The Brooms’ most fervent hope is that it will stay dormant. Meanwhile, they are doing all they can to ensure that it does.

For when conventional treatment failed, Connah, Jim and Debbie Broom stepped in. Although doctors warned that there is no evidence that alternative medicine works on cancer victims, they scoured the internet for information, consulted parents of other children with the disease and travelled to the other side of the world looking for alternative therapies.

Their quest is recorded in a book, The Amazing Cancer Kid, co-written with Jonathan Chamberlain, author of The Cancer Survivor’s Bible.

For the past six years, the Brooms have been treating Connah themselves with Sonic Photo Dynamic Therapy, or SPDT, a controversial high-intensity laser treatment.

He also eats an entirely organic diet and all his water is filtered. The therapies have cost the Brooms £240,000 — but they have no regrets. ‘How could we?’ says Jim simply. ‘Just look at him. He’s enjoying his life.’

Connah pivots on his heels, practising his dance moves. ‘Am I a miracle boy?’ he asks, grinning.‘No, you’re not,’ says Jim, smiling. ‘You’re just a normal boy who got well because we did the right things.’

The Brooms’ story is extraordinary on many levels, not only because of Connah’s bravery, resilience and tenacity, but also because his grandparents share these qualities.

When Connah was ten months old, his parents divorced and Connah’s dad, Chris, 32, won custody of his son. Chris is Jim and Debbie’s only child, and Connah is their only grandson.

For a while, the extended family lived together, Connah and his dad sharing an annexe to Debbie and Jim’s home near Prestatyn, North Wales. Then Chris, a chef, moved to Manchester with a new job, and for the past three years, Debbie and Jim, who have since down-sized to a bungalow in nearby Gronant, have been their grandson’s sole carers.

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