Reece’s life may have been short, but his legacy of kindness and bravery continues to inspire all who had the privilege of knowing him. Proud dad David shares their story and explains how he’ll always treasure the memories they made at Bluebell Wood.

“Reece was a very loving, caring and polite person who never had a bad word to say about anyone,” he  said.

“He was one of those people who would do anything for anyone, no matter what he might have been going through at the time.”

The battle that would come to define Reece’s life began just six months after the death of his mum Kirsty, who died in 2011 from skin cancer; a tragedy that brought Reece and his dad even closer together.

“He started to get these headaches, which always seemed to happen on a Sunday night at first.

“Then one particular Sunday night his vision starting blurring so we took him to the hospital and they found a large tumour on his brain.”

A complex operation followed, and six weeks later avid Sheffied United fan Reece was able to return home to his family.

“That was that, we thought. He came through it and started playing football again, just back to his normal self.”

Following a routine scan in 2016, the family received the devastating news that the tumour had returned. 

Reece once again faced the battle with courage and good humour as the family went to America for specialised Proton Beam Therapy.

“We came home with Reece stablised and we met other children who’d had the same therapy and were doing great years later. We all felt very happy and positive and just got on with life and enjoyed ourselves. Everything felt hunky-dory.”

In the years that followed, the family made the most of every moment and met many of Reece’s heroes – but were brought crashing back to earth in 2020 when a routine scan revealed the tumour had returned once again.

Another operation followed, and while the tumour was removed successfully, they discovered it had now become malignant.

“In October we went for another scan and it had started growing back again, and this time it was very aggressive. We just couldn’t believe it.

“He went downhill really quickly and it was one thing after another until it got to a point where there was nothing more doctors could do.

“They wanted to tell Reece but we couldn’t tell him at first. How do you tell your own son he is going to  die?”

The family took the decision to take Reece to Bluebell Wood, where he spent much of the last four months of his life.

“It was just amazing, they couldn’t do enough for us and the care for Reece was impeccable. Everyone – every single member of staff – was just brilliant.

“You don’t have to want for anything. Meals, washing up – you name it, it’s all taken care of.

“He really picked up while we were at the hospice, and even starting to walk around using his frame. He really loved it at Bluebell Wood. He’d go off to the cinema room, watch Sky Sports on the telly or take a walk around the gardens.”

Reece even managed to briefly return home, but his visit was short-lived.

“Once he started losing his eyesight, he’d just had enough. It was heartbreaking for him. I spent a lot of time with him in his room at Bluebell Wood and I stayed there with him until he passed away peacefully, with his family around him.”

Since saying goodbye to Reece, the family continue to use hospice services such as bereavement counselling and sibling support. They have also raised a stunning £5,500 for Bluebell Wood through an ongoing fundraiser in Reece's memory.

“It meant everything to have that time together at Bluebell Wood – and I don’t know how we would have coped after we lost him without all the care and support.

“I really can’t put it into words how much of amazing place it is.”

Bluebell Wood's Bereavement Support worker Amanda Parsons, who worked closely with Reece and his family, added: "Reece was such a lovely and polite young man, no matter what he was going through or feeling at the time.

"It really was a pleasure to talk to him and spend time with his family. It reminds me why I love doing the job that I do."


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