Maisie Rose Speller
Little Maisie was just 2 years old when she was diagnosed with leukaemia and began intensive treatment at London Great Ormond Street Hospital.Dad Mathew says: “Maisie wasn’t well for about three weeks – she was very pale, had several bruises and a swollen belly. Her GP then referred her to St. John’s Hospital in Chelmsford where she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).
Following the transfer to Great Ormond Street Hospital the next day, Maisie was immediately put on a course of treatment. During her treatment, Maisie also suffered with chicken pox and shingles because her immune system was so low.” She continues to have monthly chemotherapy injections, takes steroids, daily oral chemotherapy medication, medicines to prevent shingles, another type of weekly chemotherapy medication and lumbar injections every four months.
This is an awful lot for a four year old to contend with but thankfully Maisie’s treatment is going well and she is due to finish in October this year.“ Maisie is such a tough little cookie and has been such an inspiration throughout her treatment – we’ve been totally amazed by her.”
Jack was just five years old when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Mum, Linda, took Jack to see a doctor after an infection caused by an insect bite failed to clear up, and blood tests revealed he had leukaemia. “It was a very difficult time, “says Linda, “I’d just lost my father to multiple myeloma, another blood cancer, so to learn Jack was in danger was awful. People ask me how I coped, but if I’m honest I think it was a case of role reversal: it was Jack that coped. Jack led the way.”
Although Jack is now in remission, unfortunately he experienced some rare side-effects to chemotherapy. The punishing treatment has damaged the nerves in Jack’s legs leaving him unable to walk for long periods, so he uses a wheelchair to travel long distances.When Jack finished his treatment he wanted to find out more about blood cancers so we arranged for him to visit one of our researchers at the University of Birmingham. After he’d been there he said to his Mum "I'm not scared of cancer now. I know what it looks like and that there are people working to beat it..."
In 1985 only 20% of children survived the most common form of childhood leukaemia, now 90% survive this disease, we are indebted to the researchers and supporters who have made this dream a reality.