Barry C
Oil on canvas
Painting size: 64×64″
Painting by Mark Gilbert

Barry’s story

Barry was 11 when he posed for the Saving Faces Art Project and lived with his parents Andrew and Helen in Kent. He was a keen Southampton supporter and Playstation fanatic.

At birth he was diagnosed as having a retinoblastoma affecting his left eye, which was initially treated with radiotherapy. One year later he developed a small tumour at this site and this received further treatment.

Barry’s life remained normal until the age of 11 when he developed an osteosarcoma of the ethmoid sinuses at the top of his nose and the inner aspect of his left eye (i.e. a malignant bone tumour). This caused marked swelling on the left-hand side of his nose and bulging out of his left eye. He underwent six months of chemotherapy and in December 1999, just before Christmas, he was operated on and the malignant tumour was removed by splitting the base of his skull from above and separating his nose from his face to pull the tumour out completely. He was left with a scar on the left-hand side of his nose and over the top of his scalp where the scalp had been peeled off to remove the frontal bone and access the tumour from within the skull cavity.

Thanks to his fortitude, Barry was able to leave hospital on Christmas Eve 1999, six days after the operation, and enjoy Christmas at home. Despite his long periods off school, Barry has been supported throughout by his many friends who never forgot him even though he could not play or join in most day-to-day activities. He has overcome all the hurdles that life has thrown at him with bravery and spirit.