Family pay tribute as brave teen loses fight with cancer

THE family of a teenager who battled a rare form of cancer for more than two years have paid tribute to his brave struggle.

Brandon Hall died at the Western General Hospital on Saturday, his family by his side, after being diagnosed with a series of rare germ cell tumours.

The 19-year-old from Newtongrange had undergone numerous courses of chemotheraphy and managed to fight off the disease more than once.

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Today his mum Cath said: “He kept hanging on – he refused to go easily.”

Aged 17, the promising Newtongrange Juniors’ left-back was struck down with a germ cell tumour in his chest, a rare form of cancer which normally affects older men.

Surgeons removed a tumour the size of a small melon which had put pressure on his internal organs, and Brandon managed to beat his illness with a course of chemotheraphy. However, a series of smaller tumours returned last summer, which Brandon could not overcome.

Cath, 50, who works for RBS in Edinburgh, said: “Brandon was so brave. He never let the illness get the better of him.

“He was the bravest young laddie you could imagine. He kept fighting it off.”

His dad Boyd, an HGV driver, added: “He was a loving son, that’s how I’ll remember him. I always came home on a Friday, after being away during the week, it would be me and him at the weekend.

“He never complained about his condition. He just got on with everything he used to do. It didn’t change him.”

Boyd, 52, said his Hibs-mad son had coached junior teams at Newbattle High and had hoped to visit the US, where a friend of his was training to be a coach.

He added: “He was a popular boy. He was football daft.”

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Last year Brandon and his friends, including his brother Calum, 22, turned his attention to raising cash for Teenage Cancer Trust. He had spent time at the Western General and found it difficult receiving treatment alongside older patients and raised thousands of pounds towards a specialist ward planned for teenage patients.

A service for Brandon will be held this Friday at Newtongrange Parish Church at 11am, followed by interment in Cockpen Cemetery at 11.30am.

His parents said he was keen for his funeral not to be sombre, and before he died urged his family and friends to wear bright shirts and ties.

He also wanted I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor to be be played, which his mum said summed up his sense of humour.

She added: “Just a few weeks ago I came into his bedroom and he was jumping up and down on the bed to I Will Survive. He was still full of energy despite everything.

“He said he wanted us to play it when he was laid to rest. He had such a wicked sense of humour, and that’s how we’ll remember him.”