'His courage was unbelievable' - family's heart-breaking tribute after South Shields boy Ethan Adams loses battle with cancer
A South Shields boy who inspired so many with his courage as he battled cancer has sadly died surrounded by his family.
Ethan Adams, nine, spent his last few weeks making memories with loved ones after doctors said they could not find a way to continue with his treatment for rhabdomyosarcoma.
His parents Mark and Tracey, both 43, helped Ethan to fulfil a bucket list of wishes in the time they had left together, which included a trip to the family caravan in Thirsk and a fish and chip tea.
After a courageous fight, Ethan died ‘peacefully’ with his parents and siblings by his side as the family watched a film at their home on August 5.
Dad Mark said: "He never gave up. Even on the Wednesday when I said I was going to carry him up the stairs to bed he said ‘I’m walking’.”
He continued: "The courage he had, right to the very end, is just unbelievable.
"We are so proud of everything he has done."
Ethan was diagnosed with cancer when treatment for toothache failed to put a stop to his pain in November last year. Further investigations found he had a tumour in his head and another in his chest.
Ethan’s eye sight also deteriorated due to damage to his optic nerve.
The brave youngster was given chemotherapy, followed by radiotherapy, but last month the family were told that as his treatment has already been given at its most intense levels, nothing more can be offered.
Dad Mark said: “When he found out he had cancer and we said we were going to have to tell his brother and sister, Evan and Ellie, he said; ‘I’m going to tell them.’
"We took them up to the RVI (Royal Victoria Infirmary) and they had to sit in the canteen as they were not allowed in the ward because of Covid.
"He prepared a speech for them and said; ‘I’ve got cancer but I am going to beat it.’
"Right the way through he had courage and he always did it his way.”
Remembering how Ethan walked straight into the hospital without any hesitation on the first day of his cancer treatment, Mark said: "He hit it head-on, he had no fear.
"He was so brave the way he handled everything.”
More than £12,700 raised via a GoFundMe page to support the family and help them make memories together.
Ethan was able to enjoy his first trip to London and two trips to the caravan in Thirsk.
"As a family we are so grateful to have given him a good few weeks," dad Mark said.
"It has just been lovely to be able to cram as many things in in the time that we had.
“It just meant we could make some lovely memories with him."
A Sunderland AFC fan, Ethan was also a fearless footballer, playing for the Harton and Westoe Hurricanes from the age of six.
And the family were touched by the team's kindness when coach, Ian Bays, gave the family a video camera to record special moments with Ethan.
Dad Mark said: “He was always kicking a ball around the garden or at the park with the ball.
"He loved doing everything as long as he was being active.
"He was such a sociable character, everybody loved him.
“He loved football, he loved his football coach Ian and he loved training and seeing the other lads.
“He was never happy unless he was in the middle of things and making people laugh.
"He was everybody’s friend.”
Mark said the family “miss Ethan terribly” but that he and Tracey “couldn’t be more proud” of how his brother and sister are coping.
Praising the medical teams for their care during Ethan’s fight, he said: "The hospital staff are unsung heroes.
"His consultant looked after him amazingly along with the other nurses and doctors.
"We can’t thank them enough.
"No one got the result we all wanted but we've got so much admiration for them. They are just brilliant.”
The family also said they are “humbled” by the amount of support they have received and said it shows just how loved Ethan was.
"We are just so humbled by everybody who has supported us,” Mark said.
"We really appreciate it and just want to thank them.”
The family will say goodbye to Ethan on Friday, August 20 with a service held at South Shields Crematorium.
To support the family, visit the The Adams –Magical Memories Fundraiser.