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Riley's Story

Eight year old Riley was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia after visits to his GP, A&E and the dentist. Riley’s mum Rachel shares her story:

little boy

Riley lived life to the full

Riley was a really happy boy who loved life and already had so many plans for the future. He had just joined a local football club and went to practice on Friday evenings after school.  Riley loved music, any music. He had a very varied taste you wouldn’t expect from an eight year old. He would sit upstairs, singing along to CDs in his bedroom.

Riley also loved animals. He had a boxer dog called Buster, which he got for his third birthday. He was so loving and caring and always looked out for those he loved.

He was a sensible boy for his age, very grown-up for his years. He was very popular at school and his friends are still struggling to come to terms with his death. All in all, he was just a really happy, healthy boy who lived his life to the full.

The diagnosis

In July 2008 Riley was off school for a week with vomiting and a head-ache. I took him to his GP at the beginning of the week and was told he had a sickness bug and to go back if he didn’t improve.

He didn’t improve. In fact, he got much worse with swollen gums and pain in his legs, so bad that I took him to A&E on Thursday morning. They sent me back to the GP who then sent me to the dentist saying they didn’t know what was wrong with him. The dentist advised me to go back to A&E. From there, Riley was sent to Hull Royal Infirmary for more tests.

Hull Royal Infirmary kept him in overnight. Next morning, he was diagnosed with leukaemia and transferred to St James in Leeds. Riley underwent more tests and the following day (Saturday) was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.


Chemotherapy caused bleeding on his brain

He started chemotherapy the following Tuesday but had an immediate reaction which caused several bleeds on his brain. He was taken to intensive care where he was put on life support, but his brain was still swelling.

Riley had been on life support for three days when his heart rate started dropping dangerously low. His brain was so swollen that it was pushing down on to the brain stem which was causing his organs to shut down.

Riley passed away at 10.05am on Saturday 19 July. He was sat on my knee with his dad by our side. He slipped away quietly leaving a devastated Mummy, Daddy and little sister Rianna. Our lives will never be the same without him.

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