'My daughter has cancer - charity's support kits helped during treatment'

Heidi was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2022 after suffering from lethargy, spiking temperatures, and sickness.

Five-year-old from South Lanarkshire suffering from cancer helped by Cancer Support UK’s kids kit Cancer Support UK via Supplied

The mother of a five-year-old girl suffering from cancer has revealed how a support kit provided by a charity helped her daughter during gruelling treatment.

Heidi, from South Lanarkshire, was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in April 2022 age three after suffering from lethargy, spiking temperatures, and sickness.

The five-year-old is currently in the maintenance part of her treatment, which entails weekly visits to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, where she has blood tests and receives chemotherapy.

Her mother, Mellissa, revealed her “heart sank” when she and the family received the diagnosis.

She said: “One day she became very jaundiced so I took her again to see our GP. We were told to go straight to hospital for blood tests.

“At our local hospital they took bloods and Heidi was taken by ambulance immediately to The Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, where she received an emergency blood transfusion.

“After various blood tests, another blood transfusion and a bone marrow biopsy, Heidi was finally diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. She started treatment straight away.

“When we received the news, our hearts sank and we were angry and terrified that we had somehow caused this, but it was also a relief in a way as we had been fighting to find out for so long why Heidi was so sick all the time.”

Heidi has kept smiling while in hospital.

Whilst undergoing treatment, Heidi received one of Cancer Support UK’s Kid’s Kits, which helped boost her emotional wellbeing while undergoing gruelling treatment.

Mellissa, who describes her daughter as a “very creative girly girl, who loves make-up, drawing and dressing up”, said the kit has helped keep her entertained during her time in hospital.

She added: “We still have lots of in-patient stays when she is poorly, but Cancer Support UK’s kid’s cancer kit has helped greatly in keeping Heidi entertained. She loves to draw in the notebook from the kit and she is getting really good at doing tricks with the yoyo.

“The cosy Minion socks and the cuddly Warmies bear have been a real treat for when she is having a hospital stay, as they help to keep her nice and cosy.”

The family are now championing Cancer Support UK’s appeal to ensure children suffering from cancer receive a kit this Christmas.

Funded entirely through donations, the Cancer Kits are filled with goodies intended to give little ones a boost during treatment.

The charity also provides comfort kits to older people living with cancer and chemotherapy kits with treats such as lavender pillow spray and ginger tea bags.

Cancer Support UK CEO Mark Guymer said: “Cancer is a traumatic experience that affects both a child with a cancer diagnosis, as well as their entire family.

“This is why Cancer Support UK developed a cancer kit (in consultation with cancer patients) specifically for children to use in hospital while being treated.

“The Kid’s Kit is sent free of charge and contains toys, socks, a warmable ted and other items to help support the child while they are in hospital. We know from parental/child feedback that our Kid’s Kit gives children a huge emotional boost at a time when they need it most.

“Cancer Support UK receives no public funding and rely entirely on public donations for its work. This is why we are asking as many people as possible to help children with cancer, like Heidi, by getting behind our Christmas Fill a Kit campaign.

“We want to ensure that every child facing cancer in hospital this Christmas receives a Kid’s Kit.”

Mellissa said Heidi is lucky to have a strong support system and on non-hospital days enjoys playing with her grandparents three dogs.

“We are very lucky to have a massive support system with all our family, friends and community always checking in with us,” she added.

“We just have to ride the waves of treatment and take each day as they come. We try to look for a positive every day even the bad days.

“For any parents or family affected by cancer I want you to know you are not alone and that I am thinking of you.”

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