Henry Winter
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Amy Carmichael's story

Henry Winter
Posted by
03 Apr 2013

Amy Carmichael, 9, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in July 2012 when she was 7 years old. She is being treated at the Schiehallion Ward at Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow and is part of UKALL 2003, which all children diagnosed with ALL were entered into prior to the introduction of UKALL 2011.

Heather, Amy's mum, says:  "In the summer of 2012 Amy started to get infections and pains in her legs. We went to the doctor but nothing serious was suspected at that stage. She became ill again with a high temperature just before the summer holidays and we thought she had a virus but again her symptoms died down and she seemed to be perfectly healthy again.

We were on holiday on the Isle of Arran a few days later when Amy's health deteriorated, with a high temperature and a sore stomach. We went straight to the island's hospital, where it was thought perhaps she had appendicitis. We were given 10 minutes to pack our bags for a helicopter off the island to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock.

Her blood tests showed something was wrong, but at first the doctors thought the results must be flawed. She seemed far too healthy for her white blood cell count. When the tests were repeated and came back the same, we were rushed by ambulance to Yorkhill Hospital.

Our world had changed in a week - Amy's treatment started that day and we put our faith in Professor Brenda Gibson, her consultant, who has been brilliant throughout it all. Amy did well at first and was able to come home from hospital for the first time after about three weeks.

Shortly afterwards we got the results from her MRD test, which showed Amy was at high risk of relapsing. This meant she would need seven months intensive chemo instead of three. Amy had many hospital admissions during that time. Several times we had to rush there during the night. The drugs had some pretty horrible side effects including extreme shaking, severe sickness, mood swings, mouth ulcers, muscle pain, infections and temperatures.

Sometimes Amy would get pains in her legs that were so bad that she wouldn't be able to walk for a few days and would need a wheelchair. She hardly made it into school at all during that period but she was so brave the whole time.

One of the reasons that Amy said she wanted to fundraise was to spare children in the future from going through the treatment that she did. Amy also said that it makes her sad, when she visits the ward, to see so many new names on the board. She would really like that one day there would be no names on the board and hopes with research that this could be possible.

She’s finished her intensive treatment and is now on maintenance chemotherapy. She still has some side-effects, including muscle pain, rashes and mouth ulcers and she has also developed steroid induced diabetes requiring insulin injections for one week of every month. However, she’s back at school and going to dancing and swimming lessons along with fundraising.

Amy set up a justgiving page and as at March 2014 has raised £9,600! She raised her Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research fundraising target to £10,000. People were so generous with collections and sponsored events and Amy also held a Ceilidh in 2013, which raised £3,000.

There’s a long way to go in her treatment and the bag stays packed ready for a trip to hospital at any time, but she’s getting there”

You can support Amy's fundraising at: www.justgiving.com/beatbloodcancer-now