Henry had just turned 3 when he became unwell, he was complainingof leg pain, had a high temperature and looked pale. Initially the doctors whosaw Henry thought it was a virus and that it would pass. However he was limpingand a lump to his head which we thought was from a knock while playing inchildcare was still present nearly a week later which we would expect to havevanished.
As Henrys parents we knew something was not right and demandedmedical attention, initially from GPs, the emergency department and finally theout of hours doctors service. Henry was soon seen by a childrens doctor wholistened to our concerns and asked his senior to also review. Henry then had ahead scan suspecting a delayed concussion from the bump to his head a weekearlier. The results came back quicklyand Henry was rushed 120 miles away to Bristol with a suspected fracturedskull. I felt like I had totally let down Henry by not bringing him in sooner,for not taking his head injury more seriously, even though he had no initialsigns of head injury problems.
It was the following morning were the bad news was about tobecome worse and were told that Henry had many tumours in his head, a crumbled vertebraeand eroded rib. Day after day we were dealt with more tests and more bad newsas we found out Henry had cancer in his liver, all his bones apart from hisfeet and hands, bone marrow and a large tumour to his left adrenal gland. Aftera biopsie to determine the tumours genetics we were told Henry hadNEUROBLASTOMA.
Our world was crumbling, how could our 3 year old havecancer?
Henry underwent 70/80 days of initial chemo, stem cellharvest, major surgery, high dose chemotherapy, stem cell transplant,radiotherapy and antibody treatment with randomised interleukin 2 injections.This is was all part of the European Siopen trial.
While Henry underwent this intensive treatment we livedaway from home, by the end of treatment we had been away from our home ofPlymouth for 14 months. At the time of Henrys diagnosis I was 24 weeks pregnant,Georgina was born in Bristol. Michaelswork were incredibly supportive, I was lucky to be on maternity leave. We metmany families who weren’t so lucky and had little to no money coming in down tonot being able to work. Many families were separated from each other, oldersiblings needed to attend school and some parents had to work.
Hugs From Henry was started to support these families, tohelp when they need it most. Whether that by buying an ipad so the child canhave something to do while spending weeks and sometimes months in a room, sothey can talk to families through skype or FaceTime and used as a distractionthrough invasive treatment. Or by supporting families by giving them a holidaywhen treatment allows.
This year I'm taking on two tough challenges... a skydive and three peaks in 24hrs. Please help me get to my target.
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