As he grew Thomas was a very lively, happy boy - mischief was his delight. There was a time when only four or five years old he escaped in his pyjamas to a neighbour's house and another time when he posted all our sausages through the letterbox to entertain the postman. Socks stuffed into video recorders and plastering the bedroom with hand cream or talcum powder were regular tricks.
Once when only about six years old his bicycle was flattened by an ice cream van but Thomas escaped unscathed and came home with the damaged bike announcing "Its alright Mum, he gave me a ninety nine"! Top diving board was also an appealing "stunt" for Tom, wearing only a nappy he would climb to the top and have to be rescued.
We moved into a new house when he was only five years old, while Daddy was at work, Thomas decided to dig up all the plants, flowers and bushes in the front garden and rearrange them in a more appropriate order. He once lit a fire down the bottom of our garden and came inside with no eyebrows and a singed fringe but oh no he hadn't been playing with fire!
His obsession with keys was apparent, visitors would spend hours looking for their keys after visiting us but Thomas would always know where they were. Once he locked himself in the garden shed all day, another time he locked his family in a hotel room while he happily strolled down to the bar! What a lad!
He appeared indestructible but while attending first school we noticed that he seemed to calm down a little. Sadly his lack of mischief was due to being so very ill. On 11th June 1997 (our Wedding Anniversary) Thomas was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma a rare aggressive childhood cancer. Only about 80-100 children each year are unfortunate enough to have this disease and the outlook for these children is poor.
Thomas endured two years of painful treatments but never once complained, he prayed to Jesus every night for a cure so when his cancer had reached remission against all the odds we thought our prayers had been answered.
Thomas felt very lucky and content, he had beaten this disease and wanted to help those children who were more unfortunate than himself. He suggested a sponsored bike ride from Holmer Green to Prestwood which raised an enormous amount of money for research into neuroblastoma - how rewarding this was for Thomas.
Recognising that the community were keen to support him prompted the start of "The Thomas Ball Children's Cancer Fund". Hundreds of children locally and nationally have benefited from Tom's Charity, particularly with holidays at "Tom's Retreat" a chalet on the coast in New Milton, Hampshire.
For three years Tom thrived, spearheading and taking part in many charity events. He enjoyed a simple life walking his dog Pip and playing over the woods with his mates. Swimming, trampolining, motor biking and of course supporting Chelsea were his favourite activities. He loved computers and was very clever with all the latest technology. He enjoyed building and controlling his Hornby train set with his Dad and was a keen DJ performing locally for parties and celebrations.
Life was settled but although healthy and well Thomas was always kept on a tight rein from the hospital due to his bone marrow being so badly damaged by the chemotherapy and the high chance of a relapse.
In January 2002 it was discovered that Tom had relapsed. As parents we knew that he would probably die as there is no known cure for stage 4 neuroblastoma after relapse. In spite of this Thomas remained well, strong and determined as always and endured further chemotherapy and radioactive treatment. By the end of the year he was almost clear from cancer but unable to complete his treatment because his bone marrow was so weak. With no treatment the cancer was allowed to grow. By February 2003 scans showed much disease, and by March Thomas was confined to a wheelchair and would never be able to go to school again.
This wasn't going to stop his love of life, his courage or his firm belief that still Jesus would cure him. He continued to think of others before himself and was a tower of strength to all who knew him, he was awarded a Queens Golden Jubilee Award for young achiever in October 2002 and more recently in March 2003 he was awarded a Lady Diana Princes of Wales Award for making a real difference to the community and succeeding against all the odds.
Thomas was regularly seen around the village in his wheelchair over the last three months of his life - he wasn't going to hide away feeling sorry for himself and still had so much determination and strength, again he inspired others with his positive attitude.
In April 2003 year we managed to persuade doctors to give Thomas some more treatment so he endured more radioactive therapy. This gave Thomas only two weeks of reasonable health before the cancer continued to grow again. Radiotherapy was given just for pain relief but nothing could save Tom.
At twenty five past midnight on Monday morning 30th June 2003 Thomas lost his battle for life. Tom died in the arms of his Mum and Dad surrounded by his three sisters Cathy, Ceri and Clare, his Auntie Denny, his Godparents Auntie K & Uncle Ian and his faithful friend of the last fourteen years - Pip, his Yorkshire terrier.
The house fell empty and the sadness and pain that we are all experiencing is unbearable but we take comfort from Tom's belief that Jesus would cure him and although we don't understand why this couldn't have been so here on earth, we know that this miracle must have happened in Heaven.
Tom has been buried with his favourite soft toy and his wallet - he stashed his pocket money and until his dying day refused to reveal the combination of his safe - typical Tom! He was a fine son, brother, Grandson, nephew, uncle, cousin and friend.
Goodnight & God bless our precious Angel - Tom.
There are now two ways you can donate directly to the Thomas Ball Children's Cancer Fund online - through the Charities Aid Foundation website or via PayPal. If you choose to donate through CAF the Government will give us an extra 28p per £1 you donate.