Izzy's siblings sent video messages while she was in hospital

Izzy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2017 just before her second birthday.  Her dad Dave shares their story.

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Girl with short hair and polka dot top standing against a tree

An afternoon we will never forget

Three days before Izzy’s second birthday, she developed some rash-like spots on her legs. After a visit to the GP on a Friday afternoon, and a subsequent trip to the out of hours clinic the next day after the rash had spread, Izzy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). It was an afternoon we will never forget.

Girl in hospital bed with parents hand on back

No clear signs of cancer

There were no clear and obvious signs of leukaemia that we could recognise prior to the rash, although looking back Izzy did have a series of colds she struggled to shift, and on the day of diagnosis she did become very lethargic.
On the following Monday, Izzy was transferred to hospital, where she spent her second birthday nil-by-mouth, waiting to go to theatres. Izzy then started 28 months of treatment.


Girl in hospital bed with multi-coloured spotted toy

Izzy’s treatment

The first eight months of treatment were toughest, with Izzy feeling the effects of the treatment; nausea, tiredness and hair loss. Her immune system was compromised, so she missed out on parties and had to avoid sick family members.

After that the treatment was smaller doses of chemotherapy given at home every day. Izzy was never keen on the medicine, but over time, put up with it. The treatment plan was dauntingly long at first, but day by day, dose by dose, we slowly counted down the days until the end of treatment.

Izzy’s big sister Sophie regularly sent short videos to say hi when she was not able to visit in hospital herself, and always had plenty of cuddles when Izzy was at home. Izzy’s little brother Fred was born whilst she was in hospital, so Izzy had to wait five nights before she was able to meet him in person, but enjoyed telling nurses and ward mates she had a new baby brother.

Bald girl with red top holding purple clothes peg

End of treatment

Izzy has been lucky, she responded well to the treatment, and she was able to ring the End of Treatment Bell with her family in May 2019. We celebrated with a lovely cake the oncology clinic team arranged for us, followed by a camping trip with family and friends.

There are plenty of follow up appointments to come, but she was able to start school in September 2019 with her friends and is doing well. She now enjoys playing nurses, and would like to be one when she grows up.

Izzy has made and, tragically, lost friends on the wards, and we are now sending best wishes to other patients who have suffered relapses and complications.

Family in front of bell holding a cake

Thanks to charities like Children with Cancer UK

Izzy’s treatment was made a lot easier thanks to a place on the UKALL 2011 trial, which is funded by a range of charities including Children with Cancer UK and offered Izzy a new, kinder treatment plan.

To help Children with Cancer UK support future research and families, Izzy’s Dad Dave is running the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon as part of the Children with Cancer UK team.

Girl with hair in bows and in maroon school uniform

Update: October 2020

In April 2020, Izzy experienced pain in her legs. Test identified that this was caused by a relapse of her leukaemia. Izzy spent over five weeks in hospital and tests identified a course of chemotherapy similar to what she had received when she was first diagnosed.

Her treatment went well, however, unfortunately in August, Izzy suffered an infection that resulted in emergency surgery and a stay in intensive care.

Thanks to great support from hospital staff, Izzy has come through this, and was able to start at her new school in October. She is awaiting confirmation of what the remainder of her treatment will look like.

2020June 20 Izzy with her bravery beads

How you can help

If you’ve been touched by Izzy’s journey, help us invest in the high quality research that really matters which would otherwise go unfunded.

This helps to support children with cancer so they can be with their families for longer.

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Many of our supporters have been affected by childhood cancer – either through family, friends or their own personal experience. These patient stories can help inspire others to get involved with us, or can support our media work.

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