My son Stanley was three weeks into starting school when we had the devastating news that he had cancer. The devastating news that no parent ever wants to hear. The news came the day after we'd been away to St Ives for the weekend for my wife's big birthday. It was not what we'd been expecting. It's not what anyone expects.
Stanley had been very tired and pale, which we put down to starting school. He had swollen glands, which the doctor put down to fighting an infection. He had night sweats, but it was a hot summer. Apart from that he was well and lively. It wasn't until unexplained bruises appeared all over his arms and legs that we began to worry.
After an emergency appointment at the local hospital he was sent for an urgent blood test the following morning and then he went to school. The phone rang about 5pm when the kids were having tea. We thought it was the double glazing man but it wasn't. It was his GP telling us that he was very sorry but Stanley's bloods came back abnormal and we needed to take him, and an overnight bag, to the Royal United Hospital in Bath as soon as possible. He was diagnosed with ALL, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, cancer of the blood, on 30th September.
Our world turned upside down. The first 6 months of Stan's treatment was intense with many days spent in hospital, Bristol Children's Hospital and the RUH, Bath. Making new friends, having fun and learning things at school was replaced with operations (special sleeps), painful injections, chemotherapy and sickness, steroids and weight gain, hair loss etc. Stanley has been incredibly brave throughout and we are immensely proud of how he has coped. His sister Rose has had to deal with some very confusing and upsetting emotions. She too has dealt with this stressful situation amazingly well.
I wanted to do this skydive to raise people’s awareness CLIC Sargent (which stands for Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood) are a great charity who help children and families with cancer. They have been there for Stanley and us all as a family from diagnosis and the CLIC nurses are always there if we have any questions... of which there are many. The familiarity of having two CLIC nurses to look after Stanley helps him through this frightening experience.
The treatment for ALL is long. Stanley is now on 'maintenance' until the end of 2016 so although the intense treatment is over he has a long way left to go but is doing well. Stanley is back at school full time, his hair is growing back and his cheeky personality has returned... along with his boundless energy!!
We take one day at a time as it's the only way but it helps so much to know that we have the CLIC nurses to talk to.
Stanley is a big fan of the Power Rangers so it seems only fitting that I dress up as one (squeeze into a costume) for the skydive... people keep asking me if I'm scared and I reply "not after seeing what Stan's gone through".
All contributions to this fund will go to support the work of CLIC Sargent; Every day 10 families are told their child has cancer. CLIC Sargent is the only organisation to offer them all round care and support. They are the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, and their families. We provide clinical, practical and emotional support to help them cope with cancer and get the most out of life. For more information, please visit www.clicsargent.org.uk. Thank you very much for your support.
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