Ben’s Story by his Mom Sarah
Our six-year-old daughter Kaitlyn-Mary brought the Be Child Cancer Aware childhood cancer awareness card home from Tarvin Primary School and Ben’s story highlights the importance of empowering parents with the knowledge about the signs and symptoms of childhood cancer.
Our family’s world was turned upside down when our three-year-old son, Ben was diagnosed with cancer and began a fight for his life.
Our biggest nightmare become reality when Ben was found to have five tumours in his abdomen. Ben was diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma in March just two days after my step father’s funeral. I can only describe it as the worst week of my life. I was distraught. It hit us completely out of the blue.
Despite a two-week period in which Ben had become more tired than usual and was sick on a couple of occasions, I couldn’t have imagined what was to come. It was nothing to make you think there was something seriously wrong.
It was when Ben was having a bath that I noticed his stomach had become swollen and hard. Initially, after visiting our GP on three occasions, it was thought that Ben may have been constipated or suffering from trapped wind. It was when he was referred to the Countess of Chester Hospital that the true extent of the problem was uncovered.
A scan showed Ben had five tumours around the abdomen, including one on his liver and one on his kidney. It was horrible – my children are my life. One of the nurses took Ben out of the room to go and play and I just cried.
Ben underwent chemotherapy at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital and it has been an exhausting period for both him and our family. During his treatment Ben developed large ulcers in his mouth and throat meaning he was unable to eat or drink for ten days and had to stay in bed on a morphine drip. I had to sit beside him and say everything was going to be fine and then go to the loo for a cry. When I was in front of him I had to stay positive.
Ben is now on the road to recovery. He has completed his chemotherapy and the time is right to share Ben’s story to help raise awareness of cancer in children and to thank our fellow villagers for their support. I believe the Be Child Cancer Aware signs and symptoms awareness card spurred me on to get to the bottom of Ben’s problems.This is why I am keen to support raising awareness of cancer in children so parents can detect it at the earliest opportunity. Things like this need to be found early. It’s not about frightening people…it’s about informing people. It’s something I feel really passionate about.
One thing that has helped me and my family has been the support of the village. Sunshine Private Day Nursery, which Ben attends, raised money for us to go on a trip to Legoland, while Greenacre Garage hosted a fundraising car wash and bake sale. Sunshine have also nominated Be Child Cancer Aware as their Charity of the Year for 2013. The charity responded to their request for the awareness card to be given to every family who attends the nursery. BCCA sent the cards immediately.
I love the community spirit here and I want to say thank you to everyone for their kind support.