Mum's plea to check for cancer symptoms after 'devastating' diagnosis of her 8-year-old son
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The mother of an eight-year-old cancer patient has said her son’s stage four Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis has been like a “tornado”.
Jake started losing weight and displaying signs of anaemia earlier this year, which his mum, Ali, initially thought was linked to him taking iron tablets.
As Jake began losing weight more rapidly and getting out of breath while walking, doctors told the family in May he had stage four Hodgkin lymphoma - a cancer of the lymphatic system.
It was discovered that Jake had a mass ‘the size of a plastic bottle’ in his stomach, caused by the disease.
So far Jake has had 18 days of chemotherapy over three months, with another three months to go.
But with three areas of his body - his liver, spleen and lungs - not as responsive, it is likely he will also need radiotherapy.
Ali Carson-Blake, 35, told the Portsmouth News: “The only way to describe it was it felt like a tornado had come into our lives and it ripped everything apart.
“We were utterly devastated. We just thought it was so unfair - we wanted to be able to take the cancer from him to give to ourselves instead.
“As parents all you want to do is keep your child healthy and safe and it felt like we had let him down.”
Throughout Jake’s treatment he has suffered with “horrendous” pain from the cancer as well as the effects of chemotherapy.
‘He’s never complained’
“He’s been in excruciating pain at times,” Ali said.
“It’s so hard to watch. He’s in and out of hospital all the time but he’s been so good with it all.
“He’s done everything the doctors have told him and he’s never complained about it.”
Now the family has set up a GoFundMe page with the goal of covering the costs such as travel up to London hospitals and any work lost by his self-employed dad Nathan.
The money will also be spent on creating memories for Jake, such as days out or a holiday with his parents, as well as donations towards the wards at Southampton General Hospital and Queen Alexandra Hospital that looked after him - with more than £3,700 raised so far.
Ali added: “More than anything I want to raise awareness.
“I never imagined as a parent it was cancer, I think a lot of people would never consider it.
“We all know the symptoms of things like meningitis but most of us aren’t aware of symptoms of cancer.”
Symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma include the swelling of lymph nodes - most commonly in the neck or armpit, but in Jake’s case it’s in the stomach.
Other symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma include heavy sweating, high temperatures, rapid weight loss and shortness of breath.