‘I’m sorry, your son has cancer’
It’s because of those words that in May 2017, my lovely friend Helen and I will be taking part in a duathlon. We will both be doing a 10km run, 40km cycle, 5km run, to raise money for Children with Cancer UK. “At 2:30am on Thursday 10th September 2015, I felt my heart physically break as I was woken and told that my then 21 month old son had cancer. Leukaemia, AML
, M7 – high risk. After a four week battle seeing 12 different doctors at the GP’s, local Urgent Care Centre, A & E and the eye hospital, we finally had an answer. Luke hadn’t scratched his eye, or been stung by an insect. He hadn’t been bitten, he didn’t have a dermoid cyst, and the cyst didn’t rupture. He had an aggressive form of cancer – a mass of blast cells attached to his cheek bone, with a further mass later discovered on one of his ribs. He had cancer, my baby, and our lives were changed forever. GP surgeries, hospitals, TV, magazines – the walls and pages are filled with information on cancer. Breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, cancer this, cancer that, but nothing, absolutely nothing to do with childhood cancer. It seems to be a real taboo subject, and I don’t understand why. I appreciate people may find it upsetting to hear about, or to look at a photo of a child fighting cancer, but personally, I find it more upsetting talking to a parent who has been told there are no further options for their child. Without awareness there is no funding, without funding there are no cures. Ten children are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every day. TEN! Every single day. That’s almost 4000 children a year – just in the UK. Are these 4000 children not worth talking about? Do they not deserve to live? Without awareness people don’t recognise the symptoms, without awareness doctors don’t recognise the symptoms. Early detection can save lives.