The story of Will’s Way

Will’s Way charity was established by a 15 year old boy, with help from family and friends who, in September 2016, was diagnosed with a Grade 2 Brain Tumour. He inspired us all with his courage and bravery, this young man is Will Barker, from Stanningley Rugby Club.

The Charity is overwhelmed with the support they have received. The Will’s Way sign is now a regular feature on Sky Sports after a Super League try!

In February 2017, a Limited Edition Picture was painted by a Yorkshire artist, Bob Barker (Will’s Uncle), ‘Where there’s a Will, there’s a Way’, which featured 12 players from Stanningley that has made super league, with Will. The original was auctioned and a large donation was made by the gallery and this, with a lot of other fundraising events since February, has enabled the charity to progress significantly, receiving status in July, with Jamie Peacock MBE, being the charity patron.

The charity will support families with children who find themselves in a similar situation to The Barkers, providing financial support for their families in Yorkshire, or with links to Yorkshire, or Rugby.

This support will enable them to attend hospitals and other medical centres so that the patients can access health care provision for Neurosurgical and Cancer treatment in the Leeds NHS Hospital Trust and similar facilities in Yorkshire, which are not normally provided by the statutory authorities, and to enhance the comfort and wellbeing of patients and their relatives.

Here is Lisa & Ty Barker’s (Will’s Mum & Dad) account of their journey so far...

When Will was about 11, just starting High School in the September, he started with severe night terrors, he also complained about feeling dizzy, sick, headaches, and that sometimes he felt as though he was missing parts of his lessons at school. We took him to the doctors, who initially put it down to anxiety with starting High School. We spoke with the school and they didn’t seem to think Will was unsettled at all. In the New Year, things did not seem to get any better and he was referred to see a paediatrician.

The paediatrician also thought it was anxiety and he was referred to speak to a counsellor, but because of Ty’s history of epilepsy they decided to send him for a MRI scan. On the first MRI scan they noticed an abnormality and asked us to go back a couple of days later for further scans. When we got the results, we were told there was something showing but didn’t relate to his symptoms and he was probably born with it “A freckle!” and suggested a further scan in 3 months and not to worry. In this time Will had the counselling and everything seemed to calm down.

The next scan the medical team were happy with, so they decided to scan at longer intervals and over the 3 years they went from 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and finally to 18 months scan. It was at the 18 month scan they noticed a change. At this point they suggested it could be a tumour or swelling and they needed to investigate further. The biopsy (this was a big op on its own, he was around 4 hours in theatre) was carried out in September 2016 and this is when we found out Will has a Left Cerebellar Diffused Astrocytoma Grade 2.

Hearing this news tipped our world upside down, but what was so heart breaking, was that with Will being 15, he understood exactly what they were saying and what was involved. (We could not shelter him from the diagnosis). The other thing which was difficult was that we had the result but Will was well and all the suggested treatments/operation etc to zap the tumour would make him very ill and temporarily life changing.

So we agreed with the doctors to the ‘Watch and Wait approach’ and let Will live a normal 15 Year old’s life and scans will take place to keep a close eye on things (also any change in his health) with support from our allocated TYA Oncology Nurse, until the day we dread, and we have to go with the operation and treatment. The good news is that his most recent scan in June 2017 showed no change.

This is why we have set out with raising money in Will’s name, his bravery, strong positive attitude has been amazing for a 15 year old facing something like this (even getting himself back on the rugby pitch! and recently been selected to play for Yorkshire U17’s) He has got over the biopsy and picked up life where he left off and is now living it to the full, with a brain tumour.
We are so proud of him.