Louisa Buttery was only three weeks old when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Her parents Darren and Davina tell us their story and update us on Louisa as a teenager.
"When Louisa was born we were overjoyed. But our happiness was cut short. At just three weeks old, our baby girl was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).
Louisa spent her first six months at Great Ormond Street Hospital. It was extremely tough on us all. Our other children, Charlotte, then four, and Eddie, who was just two, made frequent trips to see Louisa and keep her company.
Three courses of chemotherapy but still not in remission
We realised Louisa was gravely ill when after three courses of chemotherapy she was still not in remission.
Doctors advised us that she would need a bone marrow transplant, so the whole family was tested to see if any of us were a match.
Much to our relief little Eddie was found to be a match for his baby sister. It was a tense time for all of us with both Eddie and Louisa having to undergo the painful procedures involved in a bone marrow transplant.
We literally held our breath, praying that the procedure would work. We were all so incredibly happy when after the transplant and a fourth dose of chemo Louisa finally achieved remission in November 2004.
Home for Christmas
Louisa was finally able to come home in time for Christmas. It was such a special time for the whole family.
We felt nervous having Louisa at home as we actually missed the security of the hospital, but we were very well cared for by a team of community nurses and still made frequent trips to hospital for check-ups.
As time went on Louisa started to enjoy a more normal life, joining play groups and music clubs.
As parents, we have had to learn to let go and not worry that the leukaemia is returning every time Louisa has a nose bleed or feels unwell.Louisa is one of the lucky ones, she made it through and we are just so very thankful for our lively and energetic little girl.
We know that other families are not so lucky and if you can help Children with Cancer UK to try and beat this disease once and for all, we would all be so very grateful."
2016 update on Louisa, now at secondary school
"Louisa is now 11 years old and has started secondary school. She's involved in such a range of activities, from cheerleading and singing to karate. She is very sociable and has a great bunch of friends.
Louisa enjoys Spanish and German and is going on a school trip to Spain this year and as a special treat is also going to Orlando!
We go once a year to Great Ormond Street Hospital for post bone marrow transplant follow-up. Louisa's growth and development is being closely monitored at this stage in her life and she is also part of a research trial looking at fertility."
Update: Louisa enjoys singing and acting
"Louisa is now in year 8, aged 12 and enjoying all aspects of school. She is a very bubbly outgoing girl and enjoys singing and acting. She attends a theatre school and plans to become an actress! We attend Great Ormond Street Hospital twice a year at the moment and that is really to monitor growth and development, both of which are going really well. We have had no issues or complications post treatment."
Louisa's mum, Davina
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