Ben who died in December 2019, "loved Christmas and would get so excited from the end of October. He made Christmas so fun for us,” his mother shared.
Despite having undergone two surgeries, 30 radiotherapy sessions, and two courses of chemotherapy, Ben Parton passed away 10 days before Christmas three years ago. The Parton family was falling apart, and Jack, Ben's twin brother started to experience episodes of vomiting and excruciating migraines. Doctors first believed that Jack, now 15 years old, had PTSD. But two weeks after Ben's funeral, the family was dealt an additional blow, when it emerged that he had leukemia, a type of blood cancer.
A schoolboy was diagnosed with cancer just two weeks after his identical twin's funeral - who had died from cancer. Doctors initially thought Jack Parton, now 15, had PTSD following the death of his brother Ben from a brain tumour in December 2019.https://t.co/gNvtyPOGM9 pic.twitter.com/ZgdB6XxRbN— Times of Bristol (@timesofbristol) December 10, 2022
Julie Parton, their 54-year-old mother, remembers feeling heartbroken. She told Brain Cancer Research, “It’s almost impossible to put into words how horrendous this has been. Having gone through everything with Ben and, just as we were grieving his loss, it was a hammer blow to find out only two weeks after his funeral that Jack was also fighting cancer. Although it seems wrong to say this, it was a relief to discover that Jack had leukemia rather than brain cancer.”
She told the Independent, “To be told my surviving son had leukemia was devastating. Although I have to hold out hope that leukemia is curable, whereas Ben never had that chance.” She added, “Thanks to the investment in research, Jack and other leukemia patients now have hope of a cure. Ben was not so lucky, he never really stood a chance. Historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to brain tumors and treatment options remain very limited and survival rates very poor.”
Fifteen-year-old Jack is taking part in our #WearAChristmasHatDay despite battling blood cancer himself, to remember his identical twin brother, Ben, who died from a glioblastoma (GBM) in 2019 💔— Brain Tumour Research (@braintumourrsch) December 13, 2022
Read more ➡️ https://t.co/dC7qDseNcp pic.twitter.com/MA7BAHD0dn
The mom shares how the twins used to balance each other out. “Ben was very laid back compared to Jack who is feisty - they balanced each other out. But Ben loved Christmas and would get so excited from the end of October. He made Christmas so fun for us.”
Despite his condition, brave Jack is participating in Wear A Christmas Hat Day this month in honor of his brother. On December 10, the family, who has already donated about £1,000 to the cause, will have an open house.
9am: we’ll talk to Julie Parton whose 12 y/o son Ben died of a brain tumour & weeks later his identical twin Jack was diagnosed with leukaemia. She wants more £ for brain tumour research; more kids & adults u40 die of a brain tumour than any other cancer https://t.co/o04RcLJFUh pic.twitter.com/MUebIL5cGj— Victoria Derbyshire (@vicderbyshire) September 7, 2020
On December 16, Jack's schoolmates at Kingsmead School will also be supporting the cause by donning their own holiday hats. “This time of year is always hard as Ben died before Christmas, but we decided to use his love of parties to celebrate his life each December. Jack is doing well and nearing the end of his treatment. I feel privileged to be his mum. This year I am asking friends and family to donate what they can whilst wearing their favorite Christmas hat during an open house on December 10 to support Brain Tumour Research.”
Ben's tale was described as "devastating" by Mel Tiley, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, who also expressed gratitude to Julie for sharing it with them. “The family’s experience demonstrates the need for more funding and research into brain tumors to keep families together. We wish Julie and Jack all the best for their fundraiser this Wear A Christmas Hat Day.”
Cover Image Source: Brain Tumour Research