Berkhamsted opera-singing family releases Christmas single to repay charity that helped five-year-old Sam

Sam Brown (centre) with parents Phillip and Kathryn, and brothers Matthew and Oliver.
Sam Brown (centre) with parents Phillip and Kathryn, and brothers Matthew and Oliver.

Two opera-singing parents and their eldest son have released a Christmas single to fundraise for the charity that helped their youngest son.

Five-year-old Sam Brown was diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyositis – a rare childhood condition that attacks the muscles – two years ago.

Dad Phillip said: “More or less on his third birthday, he started complaining that his leg was hurting. It soon spread round his body and at one point, he was barely able to walk, having typically been a racing-around, lively boy.”

The condition affects just three children per million in the UK – but doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London knew exactly how to help Sam.

He was given steroids, chemotherapy drugs, physiotherapy and other treatment to help him get better. At one point he had to spend eight weeks in the hospital.

Phillip said: “Sam was fantastically good through it all. He was stoic in a way that only little children can be. He was absolutely amazing.

“He was always smiley. He’s a very happy and very positive little boy anyway and his character made it easier for us. He was so buoyant.”

Sam is now a pupil at Victoria C of E School in Berkhamsted, not far from the family home in Charles Street.

Phillip said: “He’s a very happy, lovely child despite what he’s gone through. If someone’s fallen over and hurt themselves, he will be the first to go and see if they are alright.”

Sam is now on the mend and to repay Great Ormond Street, his family have made the Christmas single A King is Born, The Browns. It is for sale on iTunes for 79p, and all proceeds will go to the charity.

Sam’s parents – who go by the professional names of Phillip Conway-Brown and Kathryn Jenkin – sing on the track, alongside his eldest brother Oliver, 10.

Sam’s condition can never be totally cured and could return at any time during his childhood – but he will recover when he becomes an adult.

Phillip will also be running the London Marathon next year for Great Ormond Street Hospital. You can sponsor him by clicking here