Bravery award for Burgess Hill toddler

Cancer survivor Seb (2) with his mum Natasha Penney at home in Burgess Hill. SUS-160331-130209001
Cancer survivor Seb (2) with his mum Natasha Penney at home in Burgess Hill. SUS-160331-130209001

A toddler who is one of the first to receive treatment for a rare bladder cancer is being awarded for bravery.

During his treatment two-year-old Sebastian Stevens was not allowed to be picked up or cuddled by his parents, Natasha, 33 and Luke, 32.

“It was probably the hardest three days of my life,” said Natasha, who lives in Burgess Hill.

“We are so proud of him. He desperately wanted Mummy cuddles but while he was being treated, he had a brace from his chest to his knees and he had been given radioactive material, so we couldn’t pick him up, which was awful.

“However, we had no choice in the matter and I just kept reminding myself it was just temporary.”

Sebastian has been recognised with a Kids and Teens Star from Cancer Research UK in partnership with TK Maxx, for the incredible bravery he has shown throughout his treatment.

The first stages of his illness emerged in August when he began to pass blood in his urine. Natasha and Luke took him to hospital five times but were told he had an infection.

However, Sebastian’s condition deteriorated and he was taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Sick Children in Brighton where he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Natasha said: “We just cried and cried. I thought we were going to lose our beautiful baby boy.

“I wanted to protect our little innocent boy who was suffering so badly.”

Figures show only six children are diagnosed with carcinoma of the bladder in Britain every year.

After numerous procedures and operations in different hospitals, Sebastian started chemotherapy, which is set to finish in summer.

In January he had surgery to remove the tumour and a third of his bladder and had a type of radiotherapy called brachytherapy, which involved inserting radioactive material directly into the affected area.

The treatment is used to treat other types of cancer, but hasn’t been tested in children with bladder cancer.

Natasha said: “However hard it was, I’m glad the treatment was available as it will help save his bladder and allow him to have children in the future.”

To support Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens visit

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