That’s who’s above in this photo, of course. Phil on the left, with his son Alex.

Those who’ve been with Ausdroid for awhile have probably noticed Phil hasn’t been posting stories for a little while, and we thought it was time to tell you why. What follows is an abridged version of the story — we don’t want to alter Phil’s words too much.

On the 3rd of January 2013, Phil’s son Alex was diagnosed with a brain tumour which required immediate neurosurgery to remove. What followed the diagnosis can only be described as the worst two weeks of Phil’s life to date. An emotional roller coaster ride that no parent should ever have to endure and there’s nothing anyone could ever say to you or do to prepare you for.

Since the surgery and the immediate aftermath, the dust has certainly settled which has allowed the Tann family to collect their thoughts and do some (although the situation doesn’t allow much) planning for the near future. The tumour was cancerous and this sadly means that Alex and family have started what is referred to as “The Journey” through Chemotherapy. For anyone who’s super keen, the drugs are as follows (we’ve linked to the Wikipedia articles for more information):

Separately to the tumour and chemotherapy, the location of the tumour was such that Alex has lost his vision as the pathway through the brain was interrupted. While doctors are hopeful that Alex’s vision will return, for the time being, Alex is getting by without it (and by all reports, quite well).

As word of this spread through Phil’s friends, family, colleagues and even general acquaintances through business or personal dealings, offers of assistance kept rolling in. For this Phil and his wife would like to say thank you to anyone and everyone who’s made offers of assistance to them; they truly appreciate the love and support. It’s allowing them the extra time to focus on the kids right now which is very important.

Fortunately Phil, Alex and family are not going through this without assistance. A number of community organisations have made offers of assistance, including:

Each who offer their own unique support: either with support around the home, making it safer for Alex with his current lack of vision, technology assistance, general support to the family or “anything” else in this support banner. Phil has been truly astounded as to the amount of community based support out there, it’s amazing and he simply can’t say enough good things about the staff of the organisations mentioned as well as the staff at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital as to the care that has been given to Alex (and Phil) while in hospital.

Phil’s employers (not us, his real ones) have also been a huge support — they’ve basically told Phil to look after his family, and they’ll deal with leave and pay issues later, allowing Phil to continue to receive a regular income and to support his family. Truly great employers they must be.

Despite all of the things that have occurred over the last couple of weeks, Alex has continued to take everything in his stride. His vision was cut off by the pressure of the tumour, which is yet to return. He is (not badly as yet) nauseated by the drugs that he’s getting on a daily basis at the moment yet continued to ask for the foods he loves. Despite the intermittent nausea and lack of vision, he continues to play with toys, chat to anyone and EVERYONE that enters the area he’s in, he’s happy, playful and continues to entertain everyone on a daily basis.

All of us at Ausdroid wish Phil, Alex and their family all the best. I’m sure you’ll join us.

Source: Phil Tann's personal blog.
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    Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag. Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.
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    If I could give you my strength to help you I would. My thoughts and prayers are with you Phil and your family and hope your little one gets better real soon. As a father to 3 little girls it is something that no parent wants to endure and could only imagine the anguish. I would be right in saying that the entire ENTIRE Ausdroid and Android community wish you all the best and maybe we can send our little green Android robots with their swords to ward off the nasties and give you all strength to soldier on

    Neil Bennett

    So sad to read of this terrible news; words simply don’t suffice.

    Would it be good taste to perhaps provide links to charitable organisations, which the good readers of Ausdroid, could contribute a donation to? I for one would very much like to support Phil and his young family.

    For what it’s worth, my sincerest well wishes.

    Chris (Deputy Editor)

    The Ausdroid Foundation will be able to accommodate this shortly, alternatively there are other options. Drop me an email at and I will fill you in.

    Phil Tann

    Thanks everyone!


    What a beautiful child. All my best for the road ahead Phil, I’m sure he’ll pull through 🙂


    all the best mate i had to cry half way though it is so sad that any child as to go though that im happy he still being happy sounds like a little fighter hope the little fella beats it

    god bless


    Phil – sorry to hear about your kid, mate. But there is a lot of hope for you all and I’m sure you and your family’s future will get brighter with each passing day.

    ex-cancer dad

    If he’s in Melbourne, suggest to him to get in touch with Challenge (, they help the parents of kids with cancer as well as the kids – the parents also need support, otherwise they’ll find it much harder to go through the kids’ treatment and be supportive of their kid over the term of treatment. Not sure what organisations are in other states, but there’s probably some. Just going to the footy with other “cancer dads” and talking to people who can actually relate is a help, as most people in their current friends circle wouldn’t have a clue… Read more »


    Heartbroken to read this mate! I pray that the good Lord sees you through this and that Alex makes a complete recovery. Miracles do happen Phil. Hang in there mate! Your family needs you!!

    Alex D

    My thoughts and prayers are with Phil, Alex and family. I can only imagine what they are going through.

    I know Novita are a fantastic organisation and do utelise support from other state organisation (like Northcott Disability Services here in NSW). All I can say is take each day as it comes.

    James Bryant

    Prayers for you and your family…

    Carsten Bauer

    Wishing you and your family all the best of luck. 🙂


    Geez, that’s rough. I’m on cyclophosphamide and vincristine (among other agents) myself for leukemia treatment, but I can’t even imagine it from your perspective, Phil. I’m wishing the best for you and your family during this rough time.


    Sorry to hear about that, mate. I believe that you’ll beat the bastard.

    Adrian Jenkin

    I know that feeling too well. My son Brandon was diagnosed with Leukemia during his reception year of school when he was 5 and I well remember the next few days as an ongoing series of emotional punches to the head.
    My thoughts are with you Phil! Hope for the best and try to be positive.
    There is hope – Brandon will be 14 on April 1st and he starts high school on Tuesday.
    If it shows the photo is Brandon in hospital looking like a Watcher from Fringe! 🙂


    My apologies, despite of the awful circumstances when that photo was taken I did have a little chuckle at that picture of your boy. He looks like that he’s planning world domination.

    Adrian Jenkin

    No offence taken I assure you. He was probably working out how to convince us that his next meal should consist of hot chips and tomato sauce again.


    Phil wishing your family strength, patience and wisdom during this tough time!


    Good lord, that is incredibly heartbreaking. With a 21 month old myself I can’t even imagine what it’d be like to go through that. Words can’t describe how much I hope things come through for you and your family, Phil.