Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – Harris’s story

As told by mum Natalie:

Harris was diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma (liver cancer) at 9 months old in July 2022. We had absolutely no idea and only found out because he developed a sore throat upon returning from a family holiday to Greece.

We attended an out of hours appointment on the Saturday at Preston hospital and explained we were concerned by his reduced appetite, bloated tummy and seemingly sore throat.

Our suspicions were confirmed, Harris did have a throat infection, but unfortunately that wasn’t all we had to contend with; his blood results showed significantly elevated tumour markers and an ultrasound scan showed abnormalities in his liver.

We were transferred to RMCH the following day and over the course of the week he underwent MRI and CT scans, had a biopsy and was fitted with a central line.

We were told Harris would ultimately need a liver transplant for cure and also found that the tumour had spread to his lungs, making Harris ‘Very High Risk’.

We began the chemotherapy protocol and whilst Harris did respond to the treatment overall, his lungs didn’t clear after several rounds of chemotherapy, so in April 2023

Harris underwent two lung surgeries to enable a subsequent liver transplant. In June, he was fortunate enough to receive a donor liver and then completed his final course of chemotherapy in August (his 16th in total).

You never expect it will happen to you, but when you’re plunged into the oncology world of chaos and uncertainty, you end up on a ward in a hospital you’ve never been in, not knowing what you might need for the journey ahead. Receiving a Milly bag at this point is invaluable, it has everything you need to get you through the darkest and most chaotic first few days when your world has been turned upside down.

Our Milly bag has remained the emergency hospital bag, always packed ready to go, as you never know when a fever will creep up on you and you need to make the dash to A&E!

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