WATCH out, Batman. Move over, Captain Marvel.

There is another superhero on the block and Cole Park – aka Warrior Cole – is his name.

Glasgow Times:

He might be only five-years-old, but in terms of strength and courage, the Lenzie schoolboy could easily give Iron Man a run for his money.

“We call him Warrior Cole because whatever he has been through, he still fights, he still smiles and he is just amazing,” says Gillian Howard, who has launched a fundraising campaign to help Cole and his mum Michelle.

“He laughs and sings, and is always in good spirits – he is a great boy.”

Glasgow Times:

Around three months ago, doctors told Michelle her son had a brain tumour.

“It was a massive shock,” says Gillian.

“Cole has had health problems since he was about a year-old, including skin conditions and asthma, so Michelle has always been to-ing and fro-ing with her GP.

“But a couple of years ago, he started having really bad headaches and sickness. Michelle tried to get her doctor to see him, but she just kept being told to get him glasses, or give him a different diet – no gluten, no dairy, all that kind of thing.

“Eventually, his legs stopped working, and he was sent for an MRI scan.”

Glasgow Times:

Gillian adds: “That’s when they found out he had a huge tumour on the part of the brain which controls hunger and sickness. It was so big, it was actually causing his forehead to swell.

“After that, everything happened very quickly.”

Cole was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a brain tumour which affects around 55 children each year in the UK.

The next day, he had his first brain operation, to try to reduce the size of the tumour. A second operation followed, in which doctors made the devastating discovery that there were other tumours on Cole’s brain, and on his spine.

“The consultant told Michelle the tumours were like powdered sugar covering his spine,” says Gillian.

“There were so many, they couldn’t operate.

“Cole had to have emergency surgery to put a shunt in his brain, which had stopped producing fluid, and because he couldn’t eat, he needed a 24-hour feeding tube to help him get the nutrients he needs.”

Glasgow Times:

She pauses. “Recently, he lost his sight,” she adds, with a catch in her voice.

“It’s hopefully temporary. He is now due more chemo and intense radiotherapy. He has been through such a lot for a five-year-old. And Michelle was let down at every turn as she tried to find out what was happening.

“She’s amazing – when Cole started having chemotherapy and his hair fell out, she shaved her head to support him. She’s a single parent, doing all of this on her own, and she gave up her job to look after Cole, which is why we wanted to help her out.”

Gillian’s first fundraiser collected more than £7600 and with another friend Lauren MacMillan-Warren, she has now launched a JustGiving page (donate here) with the aim of supporting Michelle and Cole through treatment.

“Michelle also wants to make a donation to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, and Young Lives Vs Cancer, because the support she has had from both of them has been amazing,” says Gillian, who says the whole community has been “devastated” by Cole’s diagnosis.

“This has affected all of us – everyone wants to help,” she adds.

“Michelle also wants to raise awareness of the symptoms of this kind of cancer, such us ongoing headaches with sickness and dizziness, changes in energy levels and muscle pain. It’s so important to make sure people listen to you if you think there is something wrong with your child.”

Glasgow Times:

Gillian and Michelle, who also has an 18-year-old daughter, Chelsea, grew up together, and have been friends since first year at high school.

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“It’s hard, to see your friend go through this,” she says, sadly.

“I want to help, but don’t know how to help and this is the only way I can think of to do it.

“We were at school together, we got pregnant at the same time, and our kids have grown up together – my daughter Ellie and Cole are good pals.”

She smiles.

“It’s good to see them play together – Cole is Rangers daft and loves football, and he is a huge Marvel fan – he just loves superheroes,” she says, adding with a laugh: “We all think he is the real superhero.”