A little boy who has died after waging a brave two-year battle against a rare brain tumour is set to leave a lasting legacy.
Twelve-year-old Sumner Malik won the hearts of a whole community by the inspirational way he dealt with his illness.
His devastated family launched a ‘Sunshine4Sumner’ fundraising campaign after being told that no treatment was available on the NHS.
Now the grieving close-knit Malik family plan to turn the campaign into a charity to help other victims of the cancer - Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma - which claimed little Sumner’s life.
Dad Camron spoke out about the plans as he paid tribute to Sumner following the youngster’s funeral at the Surrey and Sussex Crematorium on Friday. “He always brought a little ray of sunshine into the room,” he said. “He was an inspiration to everyone.”
Hundreds attended the service and there were tears as well as some smiles as Sumner, part of a squash-loving family who live near Handcross, was remembered. Squash players formed a guard of honour with their rackets at the service.
Sumner’s family - triplet brothers Bailey and Heston, dad Camron, mum Suzan, sister Torrie, and elder brothers Curtis and Perry, all wore yellow. Others wore red and orange in a tribute to Sumner’s sunny personality. “He was always happy. He was always making everyone laugh,” said Camron.
“He was very loving. He was such a good boy. You couldn’t ask for a more compassionate child. He was always thinking of others.”
And Sumner never even let his harrowing illness get him down. “He didn’t let the disease beat him. He took it head on with a smile and gave it his best shot.”
And his best shot led to him proving doctors wrong - he lived for more than a year longer than they predicted. “And he lived his life to the full,” said Camron.
Despite his illness, Sumner enjoyed holidays with his family to Spain, Egypt, Disneyworld - paid for by the Starlight Children’s Foundation - and more. And he carried on enjoying squash at K2 in Crawley and helped his dad to coach younger players.
Now his loving family are hoping that Sumner’s new charity will help others to do the same. Meanwhile, they are grateful to all those who helped Sumner by fundraising to help pay for his treatment. “We want to thank everyone involved,” said Camron.
Around 40 children a year are diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma in the UK. There is no cure and a zero survival rate.