Billy’s mum, Julie, says: “My baby boy was eight months old in June 2011 when he became unwell with a sickness bug. One day I decided to contact NHS Direct as he was not eating at all, looked very pale and had some very strange spots and bruising in odd places. We had an ambulance ride to Sheffield Children's Hospital. I thought in the ambulance that I had overreacted and that Billy did not need this type of transportation to hospital. Little did I know at the time that when I walked out of my front door, I would never return the same person!
Within hours of being at the hospital, Billy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. When the doctor told us my whole world fell apart. We were told that Billy's kidneys were failing and he was seriously ill. Thankfully Billy was a fighter and he did not have to be transferred to a specialist renal unit. The doctors must have worked miracles in that weekend! Since then we remained in hospital for a few weeks while Billy had intense treatment.
In six months we counted around seven days at home and the rest of the time in hospital. We didn’t care as long as Billy was getting better! We nearly lost him a few times due to line infections. I never forget cuddling up to him in hospital and praying that he would turn the corner soon as my heart was breaking seeing him in so much pain.
Billy continued to fight though and amazed us all! When he was very unwell he always managed a smile and flirted with nurses every day - he had a nurse a day to flirt with! It was a really difficult year for us and financially it has not been easy too.
Luckily I have good friends and family. I have a new network of friends from the ward who I keep in touch with - they are my second family and together we provide support for each other. Billy is now on maintenance and is doing very well.
We are very lucky to still have our son here. When people attempt to sympathise with us, I always tell them that we are the lucky ones as there are children who are not as fortunate as Billy and some families who have lost their children. I have kept this thought throughout the bad times and it has enabled me to remain strong for Billy.”