Sally Roberts spends first Christmas away from her son Neon due to family rift over her opposition to his cancer treatmentTold by estranged husband she was not welcome at family gathering Understood they have fallen out over her unsuccessful eight-week legal bidUncle Tony Leese said: 'It could be Neon's last Christmas. It's such a shame.'
22:32 GMT, 29 December 2012
Neon Roberts spent Christmas Day without his mother because of the bitter family rift caused by her battle to stop him receiving radiotherapy.
Sally Roberts’s unsuccessful eight-week legal bid had put her in conflict with her estranged husband Ben, who told her that she would not be welcome at the family gathering.
It is the first time Sally has been parted from Neon and his twin sister Electra at Christmas – and last night, her brother Tony Leese said: ‘It could be Neon’s last Christmas, it’s such a shame.
Together: Sally Roberts spent Christmas away from her son Neon for the first time due to a family rift
‘I know family feelings are very strong over Sally’s actions, but she’s only doing what any mother would do for their child. It’s wrong Neon should suffer because people are angry at her.’
Ben initially supported Sally’s decision to seek alternative treatment for their seven-year-old son’s brain tumour, but signed a consent for normal medical treatment when he realised time was running out, sparking the court battle.
Mr Leese, 48, first feared that his sister might be barred from seeing Neon after he overheard a conversation at the hospital between Ben and Sally.
He said: ‘I heard Ben say to Sally, in front of Neon, “If you want to see Neon at all, you won’t behave like this.” Little Neon’s eyes widened in alarm when he heard it.’
Neon is now due to start his radiotherapy on January 10 – and recently underwent a second operation to remove cancerous cells from his brain.
‘Neon’s made a good recovery from the second operation and has really enjoyed his Christmas,’ Mr Leese said.
unit: neon with his parents Sally and Ben Roberts who are separated and are understood to have fallen out over her battle to to stop him receiving radiotherapy
‘I’ve seen a picture of him fooling around wearing false teeth and enormous glasses on Christmas Day.
‘That’s the Neon we all love, he’s really cheeky with a great sense of humour. It’s good to see him back to his normal self.
‘Hopefully he’ll come through it all – that’s up to Neon and the big man in the sky. If the family can bond together and give him our love and support he will stand more of a chance.’
Doctors treating Neon give him what is
termed ‘playtime’, which is time to get used to the radiotherapy
machines and the mask they will make to cover the part of his head which
will not be irradiated.
Mr Leese said: ’He’s having what they call ‘playtime’, he went last
Thursday and they started by making a plaster cast of his hand, to get
him used to how it feels.
Separated: Sally Roberts' brother Tony said: 'It could be neon's last Christmas. It's such a shame.'
‘He had his furry toy tiger Tallulah with him when he went to the
hospital and they made a special cast for Tallulah, I thought that was
‘Neon’s made a good recovery from the second operation and has really
enjoyed his Christmas. I’ve seen a picture of him fooling around wearing
false teeth and enormous glasses on Christmas Day.
‘That’s the Neon we all love, he’s really cheeky with a great sense of humour. It’s good to see him back to his normal self.’
Battle: Neon is due to start radiotherapy treatment on January 10 despite his mother's legal bid
Mr Leese’s Christmas present to his nephew was a fishing rod, and hopes to take Neon away on a fishing trip, once he has got through
all his radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Mr Leese, of Island Gardens, east London, said: ’I heard from my mum that
Neon was absolutely thrilled by the fishing rod.
'I had told him when he
was in hospital that I was going to give him one.
‘His eyes had widened with delight and a big smile spread across his
I told him that we would go on a fishing trip together and he’s
‘Neon’s a real nature boy and I think there would be nothing better then
us sitting together on a bank, watching the birds diving into the river
and waiting for a fish to bite.
‘But of course, that’s all between me, Neon and the big man in the
sky……Neon could be snatched from us at any time, we just don’t know.
‘Hopefully he’ll come through it all, if the family can bond together
and give him our love and support he will stand more of a chance.’
Despite finally recognising that Mrs Roberts must give up her court
fight and concentrate on saving Neon, Mr Leese said he is still very proud of
what his sister has achieved.
He said: ’Sally has shone a light on the whole subject of radiotherapy
and alternative treatments, even the Judge had sympathy with her views.
‘I’m very proud of what she has done, initially she knew nothing about
medullablastoma in children, now she has learnt everything she can about
‘Who knows, in years to come, some of the therapies that have been
dismissed as just in the experimental stage now, may be used as standard
medical treatments in the future.’
Last night Mrs Roberts declined to comment.