Two years ago, Jazzmyn Saunders (26) and James Saunders (28) from Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, England, were depressed when they discovered that their two-year-old son Frankie had rare blood cancer. .
For the first two years of life, Frankie was perfectly healthy. However, in October 2016, the boy suddenly became lethargic, tired, high fever. Initially, the baby was prescribed antibiotics. But about four weeks later, the baby started to rash.
Since Frankie was sick, James’ family spent most of their time in the hospital.
Jazzmyn recalled: ‘When we went back to the clinic, the doctor just said it was a viral rash and gave me more antibiotics. However, my son continued to have high fever and rash all over his body.’
Then, Frankie was checked again and was diagnosed with meningococcal rash, and was asked to go to Watford General Hospital for a blood test.
On December, 23, 2016, when returning to the hospital to receive the result after long period of waiting, Jazzmyn and James was dumbfounded when informed, Frankie did not have meningitis, but he had cancer. On Christmas Eve that year, while other families gathered in cosy houses, Jazzmyn and James were together in the hospital to arrange treatment for Frankie.
Because of caring Frankie, James often send Skye to her grandparents. She only occasionally played with her younger brother.
Recalling that night, Jazzmyn said, ‘We were not sure if we needed to spend Christmas Eve in the hospital, so we sent daughter Skye (then 4 years old) to our parents’ house in Portsmouth. I thought to myself: ‘Hope you still have a great holiday.’ Fortunately, in the end, we were allowed to go home on Christmas Eve, so we came to pick up Skye.
‘In my mind at that time, I felt terrible about Frankie’s diagnosis. It is a far difference from what we have planned together.’
On December 27, 2013, Frankie was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he was diagnosed with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, a rare form of blood cancer with rate 1 in 1 million death. The only treatment for this disease is bone marrow transplant. So, doctors examined Frankie’s relatives to find the right person to donate their marrow. As a result, Skye is the only one who can save Frankie’s life, her little brother.
However, the way to transplants is not easy. Before transplanting, Frankie’s condition worsened faster than expected. In order his body was healthy enough for the transplant, doctors had treated him with intensive chemotherapy.
Talking about the process, Jazzmyn said, ‘Frankie suffered a lot of side effects and mouth ulcers. He was still too young to be able to express what he endured. He was given a lot of pain-killers and many other drugs, all of which were things you woud not want to put into the body of your child. But we know they helped him to become stronger.’
The transplant continued to be delayed until May 5, 1974 because Skye had chickenpox.
On the day of the transplant, after a hour of taken bone marrow, Skye did not lie down, she decided to be beside her brother’s bed and hand-press the button to pump marrow to her brother Frankie’s body. Not only that, she was sitting next to her brother during the four hours transplant.
Now when repeating what happened, Skye was always proud of her great action. She also joked about it and often told Frankie: ‘I saved your life, so your life is mine.’ Everyone has called Skye a superhero. ‘
Just one month after the transplant, Frankie was discharged. A few months later, he was removed a central venous catheter, which made it easy for the doctor to perform regular blood tests and antibiotics as needed. In December 2017, Frankie could finally ring the special bell that signaled the end of his treatment. Until now, he has been perfectly healthy.
Kim Ngan Do
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