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Home   Canterbury   News   Article

'Battle with Bob': Tragic Faversham boy Silas Pullen's parents share poignant video campaign against brain cancer nicknamed Bob

30 January 2014
by Bess Browning

When schoolboy Silas Pullen was diagnosed with a brain tumour, he gave it a name and set out to destroy it.

His nemesis was Bob – an aggressive and malignant cancer that first took hold just months after his 10th birthday.

But Silas was determined to win, and with the help of family and friends documented his battle with Bob in a series of heartwarming videos.

Tragic Silas Pullen died aged 11

Tragic Silas Pullen died aged 11

It all started with a clip of him pummelling a Plasticine Bob, before shouting: "Silas wins!"

His friends and family then joined in, making their own videos of Bob's demise to show their support.

Whatever form Bob took in the homemade clips, he would be destroyed – whether it be a teddy bear blown up with explosives or a snowball melted with a kettle.

The uplifting videos were shared by Silas’s parents Ben and Sarah shortly after their "bright and beautiful" son lost his valiant battle with Bob on December 29.

Scroll down for videos

The Pullen family

The Pullen family

Ben said: "We started making the videos to give us something positive to focus on and something fun to do, which could include all his mates in the fight against Bob. 

"We never knew how much time we had with Silas so it was nice to catch him on camera a lot.

"Sarah had heard from online communities that children had been helped in understanding and coming to terms with their cancer by naming the tumour.

"We watched Blackadder the week after he was diagnosed – it's the name of the female character in the show and you have to say it with Rowan Atkinson Blackadder face."

Video: A playlist of videos in Silas's battle with Bob

Silas was diagnosed with the tumour in August 2012 and spent more than a year in and out of hospital having intensive treatment - including two brain operations, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Ben and Sarah said: "You can plague yourself with why it happened to Silas, but there is no reason why.

"A day before Silas started having symptoms, we were a very normal family, with four very normal boys.

"He was playing cricket just hours before he was rushed to hospital - his cancer came out of nowhere."

Pictures of ‘Bob’ the brain tumour by Silas’s friends and family

Pictures of ‘Bob’ the brain tumour by Silas’s friends and family

'Bob' is destroyed in this drawing

'Bob' is destroyed in this drawing

'Anti-Bob' - a lucky mascot for the Pullen's friends and family who were raising money for cancer charities

'Anti-Bob' - a lucky mascot for the Pullen's friends and family who were raising money for cancer charities

Throughout Silas's fight, his parents and three brothers tried to make every day special for him, arranging visits from famous footballers, attending film premieres and taking trips with family and friends.

With the help of friends, they raised a staggering £70,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital during Silas's treatment, with events including a charity teacher leg wax at Wellesley House School in Broadstairs, where Silas was a pupil.

Now they want to raise money in Silas's name to fund crucial research and support for families who are dealing with a condition which is the biggest cause of cancer deaths in children.

The Silas Pullen Fund has now been set up to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity, which directly funds scientific and clinical research into brain tumours.

Silas with brothers Oscar and Rufus

Silas with brothers Oscar and Rufus

Ben and Sarah said: "We want to raise awareness for people who are battling brain cancer and to help find treatments which offer more hope to those families affected.

"In 30 years, the survival rate has not changed for this cancer - there's really little out there and we want to help change this.

"When older people get cancer, there can be reasons why – smoking, drinking - but for children, there is no apparent reason."

Silas Pullen with footballers Theo Walcott and Ryan Bertrand

Silas Pullen with footballers Theo Walcott and Ryan Bertrand

To donate to the Silas Pullen fund, click here and for more information on the Brain Tumour charity, click here.


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