Brave Cleobury Mortimer lad embarks on the fight of his life after being diagnosed with leukaemia. (From Ludlow Advertiser)
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Brave Cleobury Mortimer lad embarks on the fight of his life after being diagnosed with leukaemia.
Buy this photo » Jack Edwards with mum Chrissie
CHRISSIE Edwards faced every parent’s nightmare when she took her son for a routine check at the doctors when he developed a rash.
The 24-year-old mum-of three was unconcerned as Jack seemed well otherwise.
As a precaution he was sent to hospital in Worcester to rule out any possibility of meningitis.
But having been reassured there was no meningitis to worry about, there was a sting in the tail. Chrissie was told the unusual blood tests required further investigation.
She was sent with Jack to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where she was delivered the bombshell that her son was suffering from leukaemia.
“It was such a massive shock because I had not thought for a minute that there was anything seriously wrong as Jack had been playing around and laughing,” said Chrissie.
“When I went to the doctors in Cleobury I was worried about wasting their time and the most I had expected was to be sent home with a bottle of Calpol.
“I am so grateful to Dr Thomas who picked up that there was something more serious and sent us straight to hospital. I rang to thank him and he said he had seen a similar case about 12 years ago.”
Jack is going to have to be a very brave little boy and has just returned home after 10 days in hospital which saw him start on intensive chemotherapy.
It is a treatment that must continue with twice weekly visits to Birmingham for the next six to eight months and then a possible four years of less frequent chemotherapy.
Chrissie, who is separated from Jack’s father Kieron, does not have a car and because of the youngster’s vulnerability to infection, he cannot use public transport.
It leaves the young mum of three having to depend upon family and friends as she juggles taking Jack to hospital and looking after here other two sons, toddler Zak, and Jamie, five.
“A car collects us at 8.30am and brings us back in late afternoon,” said Chrisie, who has had to give up her work as a mobile hairdresser.
“The treatment only takes about five minutes but there is a shortage of transport and so there is a lot of hanging around. It all makes for a very long day.
“The treatment is very demanding and Jack feels very tired as well as being sick and he will lose his hair.
“We also have to guard against him coming into contact with people with infections as Jack is at risk.”
Thankfully, doctors say the chances of an eventual recovery are good but it will be a long process.
“We could not go on without all the help we’re receiving and I am so grateful to the support from family including Jack’s father and family and friends.”
“My sisters Billie who lives nearby and Annie who lives in Tenbury and has just had a baby, have been great.”
A fund has been started to help the family with the extra costs including the sale of a calendar – Snow Fun – Clee Hill Style, inspired by a new cheeky craze for semi-naked snow photographs.
These are available from the Golden Cross in Clee or by calling Debbie Price on 07850 366312, or Trudi Hassan, on 01584 891543.
JACK has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia which is the most common childhood leukaemia.
Up to 500 children a year are diagnosed with the condition and it is more common in boys than girls.
It accounts for 80 per cent of leukaemia in young children and progresses very quickly, so requires early and intensive treatment.
Symptoms in the initial stages include tiredness, aches and pains, breathlessness, bruising and abdominal swelling.
Survival rates are between 80 and 90 per cent.
Treatment involves regular doses of chemotherapy – a very powerful and toxic drug that targets the cancer cells.
As well as hair loss, other side effects include sickness, tiredness and a vulnerability to infection.