Zane West will be “forever 9”.
The brave little Grays Point boy died yesterday in the children’s hospice Bear Cottage at Manly less than eight months after he was diagnosed with a rare, very aggressive and inoperable brain tumour on Christmas Eve.
Zane’s parents Erminia (Min) Hatzel and Steve West revealed the heart-breaking outcome and thanked supporters on Facebook.
“Zane is now at peace,” Min wrote. “He fought harder than anyone will ever know…Too much for a child [to] ever have to endure. His ending was peaceful & surrounded by love. Forever 9 you will be Zane. You have touched so many hearts.
“Thank you to each & every one of you for your love & support throughout his journey. We are thankful for the blanket of warmth we feel from you all right now.”
Zane was a vibrant and energetic youngster, who loved surfing, soccer and other sports before he was struck down by Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a cancer which attacks children under 12.
About 20 children die from DIPG in Australia each year, and the average survival period is just nine months from diagnosis.
The hideous disease showed no mercy in taking Zane’s young life within the projected period.
A close family friend said the last few weeks had been very hard on Zane’s parents. The couple have two other sons, Blake and Saxon.
Zane spent two weeks in Bear Cottage about a month ago, came home for a week and then returned to the hospice.
Earlier in the year, Zane reacted well to radiation therapy and was able to briefly rejoin classmates at Grays Point Public School before his condition began to deteriorate again.