On 1 June 2019, five-year-old Harry Shaw took his last breath after a tough 10 month battle against Ewing’s Sarcoma.
Harry was diagnosed with cancer on 2 August 2018 when a routine scan on a small lump showed a tumour the size of a large baked potato inside Harry’s right chest. Harry was 4.
In the space of a few minutes on that hot sunny afternoon the Shaw Family’s life was changed forever.
Harry started chemotherapy at University College London Hospital on 17 August 2018. They knew it was going to be tough but the expectation was it was treatable. Harry had four months of strong chemotherapy which he largely charged through. Totally unfazed by his immediate hair loss he regularly attended school where he adored playing with his friends.
January 2019 saw Harry at the Royal Brompton for chest surgery to remove the tumour and yet again he blew everyone away with his determination in recovery.
Formula One ace Lewis Hamilton was alerted to Harry’s plight after he received a video message ahead the race in Barcelona. Hamilton was among a number of stars from the sporting world to lend support to Harry’s Giant Pledge, the fundraising page for the The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity which Harry’s parents set up after he was given just seven days to live on April 29.
Harry sent Hamilton a video message on Instagram ahead of last month’s grand prix: “Hello Lewis Hamilton. Good luck winning the race in Spain and thank you for the gifts. Lots of love from Harry and goodbye.”
Hamilton said in a Instagram post at the time: “You are such a strong boy, I wish I was as strong as you, I wanted the world to see how strong you are.”
Hamilton described Harry as his “spirit angel” as he dedicated his victory on 12 May to him and sent a replica Formula One car and his trophy to Harry.
After learning of Harry’s death, the Formula One champion tweeted a tribute.
“Harry, thank you for being such a positive light to us all. You’re so brave and the world will miss you dearly. Thank you, friend and inspiration”
The post on Harry’s charity page said: “On 1 June 2019, five-year-old Harry Shaw took his last breath after a tough 10-month battle against Ewing’s Sarcoma; a rare bone cancer.
Harry’s parents, Charlotte and James had the following to say:
“Losing Harry means our happy family unit of 4 now becomes 3. We lose our firstborn child; our 2 year old daughter Georgia loses her brother who she will probably never remember; and the wider family lose their first grandchild and nephew.
As a parent it is hard to convey all the feelings and emotions you are hit with when you go through this terrible thing. Disbelief, despair and despondent are but three, but the actual feeling is every emotion hitting you all at once in a giant train crash in your heart.
We would like to say Harry died in peace and comfort; to an extent he did, dying at home in his own bed surrounded by his toys and the people he loved. But the actual truth is the last few weeks of Harry’s life were marked by terrible pain and suffering that no human, not least a 5 year-old boy, should endure. As parents, to sit and have to watch your child die slowly in pain and discomfort is a memory we hope time will heal.”