On Tuesday the 9th of July in 2019, two days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, Josh passed away. His family were shocked and heartbroken - how could Josh, who was perfectly healthy a week ago, be so poorly? Since then, his family have been tirelessly raising funds for CCLG in Josh's memory, for research into childhood leukaemia. Here, Josh's family share his story...
Our beautiful Josh was shockingly diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia on 7th July 2019, a week prior to this he was a perfectly healthy boy running around, playing football every time he had the chance.
On 2nd July 2019, Josh came home from school with a slight pain in his ribs and was sick (once) that evening. The next day Josh had a temperature although he wasn't sick again. The next day Josh was complaining of a headache and still slight pain in his rib and his neck was getting a little stiff in the late evening, although he now had no temperature.
His symptoms seemed like normal childhood illnesses that were going around so we had no concern at this point.
On the morning of Friday 5th July, I was on the phone to the GP and as I was talking to the doctor, Josh's fingernails and toenails went blue. As I said this, the GP said 'hang up and dial 999!' so I did. The ambulance and paramedics arrived, they checked him over and they asked if he had fallen over recently. I then remembered that Josh had fallen and hurt his ribs while at school on the 1st of July. We were sent to the William Harvey Hospital for an x-ray which came back clear and we were told he had muscular-skeletal damage and slight whiplash to his neck. We were told that Josh would need a few days to recover and were sent home.
The next day Josh started being sick again. I knew something wasn't right, he hadn't eaten for a couple of days and was drinking but not going to the toilet, and suddenly he couldn't stand on his right leg as it was too painful.
We took him back to A&E where they took his bloods and at 3am on the 7th July we got the devastating news that Josh had an acute form of leukaemia.
An ambulance was already dispatched to take us to St Georges Hospital in London and were told that we would need to pack for 7-10 days as Josh would need to start chemotherapy.
Once at the hospital, Josh was full of beans, making the nurses laugh and talking about his brothers and his football team whilst getting hooked up to all of the machines.
He was so brave and not scared or worried at all. He was our little hero.
We were then given the acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) diagnosis, they went through the chemo options and treatment started.
Joshs white blood cell count began to fall but then started to rise again and unfortunately Josh began getting some complications which meant he started to haemorrhage in his brain and lungs. He was then sedated to help him relax and was put on a machine to clean his blood of the white cells but they still continued to go up. His liver and kidneys then started to swell.
He started to deteriorate quite quickly and we were informed on the evening of Monday 8th July that they didnt expect Josh to survive the night. We were in complete disbelief in everything that was happening.
How could our boy, who was perfectly healthy a week ago, be so poorly?
Josh gained his angel wings in the early hours of Tuesday 9th July with my husband and I laying of either side of him while listening to his favourite Ed Sheeran album.
The nurses and doctors gave him their all.
Josh was such an inspirational boy and the impact he has had on people, and how he touched so many lives, is just amazing! Our 9-year-old boy had such an amazing smile. His nickname was Smiler! He was such a caring loving boy that looked out for everyone! He is so deeply missed by us, his brothers, family and friends. Josh was one in a million and he was a star! He played football for Dover Rangers and the chairman has organised for a little gold star to be placed on their kit in memory of Josh.
We know he would want us to help children with leukaemia and so that is what our mission is.
We hope that Josh's Gold Star Fund will raise as much money as possible to hopefully improve treatments and find a cure for childhood leukaemia.
We now feel it's time to give back and hopefully improve treatments for future children.
Make a donation to Josh's Gold Star Fund
Open an online fundraising page for Josh's Gold Star Fund
Set up a regular Direct Debit donation to Josh's Gold Star Fund
Text CCLG 5 JOSH to 70300 to donate £5.
CCLG will receive 100% of your donation. You may also be charged for one text message at your network’s standard or charity rate.
You can make a donation or pay in funds raised by cheque, payable to CCLG, to CCLG, Century House, 24 De Montfort Street, Leicester LE1 7GB. Please ensure you make it clear that the donation is for Josh's Gold Star Fund so that your donation is allocated to the correct fund.