“We were devastated by the news that our son had leukaemia. I felt physically sick”, says Sam. “I felt like that for days afterwards and thought I’d never stop crying.”
But the family had to cope with a further blow. Tom’s diagnosis also had implications for his twin brother, Daniel. Daniel could also develop leukaemia.
In recent years, scientists have discovered that some children are born with a predisposition to leukaemia. Their blood contains pre-leukaemic cells. Only a small proportion of these children will actually develop leukaemia.
As identical twins, Tomas and Daniel shared the same blood supply in the womb. So, if Tomas was born with pre-leukaemic cells then it was likely that Daniel also had them. In such cases, the chance of the second twin also developing leukaemia is one in ten.
Paul and Sam were heartbroken when a blood test confirmed that Daniel had the pre-leukaemic cells. They’ve had to watch Tomas go through the ordeal of chemotherapy knowing that Daniel may one day have to go through the same thing.