It was November 2012 - we had a happy healthy beautiful 18 month old perfect boy and had just come back from a family trip to Blackpool. We had been back about a week and noticed over a few days he was tired - just not himself but nothing you wouldn't put down to teething.
After being at work I collected my son from his nana and granddads and noticed extreme bruising on his shins, which as working in a school I knew at the back of my mind just wasn't right.
As much as I tried to tell myself that he was a boy toddling around and that things like this would happen, I was extremely concerned. Anyway, I monitored it over the weekend. He began being sick as I was on my way to work, so I got an emergency appointment at the doctors.
At this point he had a pin prick kind of rash developing on his body. All sorts of things go through your head as a parent and at this point my main concern was meningitis. After all day at our local hospital in Sunderland and being transferred to a ward we were told the devastating news that our precious boy had leukaemia.
We were distraught - in fact that was an understatement. We were transferred to Newcastle RVI where they ran tests. Within around two days of them stabilising him and giving him blood and platelets, treatment began.
He has endured different types of chemo, down to theatre for numerous lumber punctures and still he remains stronger than me. He just gets on with it and always has a smile on his face and maintained his fantastic personality.
When I think back to just how poorly he was it is scary. we were kept in this fantastic hospital for just under two weeks before we were allowed home. Now our boy is on the up. It has affected our family in a massive way but what always amazed me was the strength our little boy got from his older sister. It didn't matter how poorly he was, when she entered his room it was like a tonic. It has taken us all, even the wider family and friends, a very long time to come to terms with. I couldn't even say the word ‘leukaemia’, never mind get my head around it.
How can such innocent people have this awful disease? It is still beyond me. One thing that I distinctly remember was watching our local news about the ward which looked after Archie so well and saying to my mam and dad if that was one of my children I would never cope. I still don't know how we did. But we did and my boy is here and doing well thanks to the fantastic staff at the RVI.