In August 2018 our beautiful boy Freddie was three and a half. He had never really been unwell and had a pretty solid immune system. He has never had a tummy bug and wasn’t one to miss nursery through illness. We thought Freddie was eating too much junk food and having too many late nights as he was getting a little lethargic and his tummy was getting a little bigger.
Like other children we thought he may be having a growth spurt and growing ‘out’ before shooting up.
Until he got a fever we didn’t really think anything of it. We thought it was funny when he fell asleep having his hair cut. We thought we’d got a bit slack with watching his diet and keeping to bedtime since George, his baby brother, arrived. We had no idea our baby had a tumour in his tummy. Two minutes before complaining of acute back pain on Sunday 19th August 2018, Freddie was building sand castles on the beach. Two days later he was still up and down in himself with a slight temperature, and intermittently complained of tummy pain. After calling 111, and taking him to the GP surgery we were advised to take him to the Children’s Assessment Unit for suspected appendicitis.
Freddie was well in himself as we had given him calpol and was playing in the hospital playroom. Eventually he was reviewed and the on call registrar diagnosed appendicitis and said he needed an urgent operation. We were taken in an ambulance to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Freddie was admitted on the evening of Tuesday 21st August 2018 with suspected appendicitis. Diagnosed with acute appendicitis he was rushed to theatre without the usual camera to check first or any scan. When surgeons opened Freddie’s tummy they found his appendix was fine but he had a large tumour, which after many more procedures under general anaesthetic was confirmed as a Wilms tumour attached to his right kidney.
We started chemo three days later and his tumour and right kidney were removed five weeks later. Our precious baby boy now has the biggest fight of his life and we have no idea where we find the strength to support him through this, but we do. We have no choice. Thank you to our baby George who still manages to bring a smile to our faces in the darkest moment of our lives.
We were told we could ‘breathe a sigh of relief’ that the tumour was a Wilms. A sigh of relief? We know what the doctors meant - this type of tumour has a good success rate and is the most common renal tumour in children. However, there are only 80-85 diagnosed cases a year and anything short of 100% success is absolutely terrifying. Risk of relapse is very real with this type of tumour.
Please support us in raising funds to find a cure for Wilms tumours, and to find kinder treatments for our babies. Our Freddie takes all of his treatments in his stride and is an absolute hero, but adult medicines have come so far compared to those we give to children. This absolutely needs to change.
Thank you so much.
Heather and Danny
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