Three courses of chemotherapy but still not in remission
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.
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 nosebleed 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
Update: April 2020
Louisa will be 16 in a month. She is in Year 11 and may or may not be sitting her GCSEs this year, which are currently on hold due to the virus. She’s aiming to go on to sixth form college to do her A Levels in September. She still plans to be an actress.
Louisa is a super girl – fun-loving and very kind with lots of friends and a boyfriend called Brendan. They have been courting for over a year.
She loves her family pets – Billy King Charles and Benji the Labrador and is close to her brother Ed and sister Charlotte.
Louisa has annual check ups at GOSH and we’re monitoring the side effects of her treatment. She remains very well and leads a completely normal life.
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