Blood cancer: Symptoms explained by healthcare professionals

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Eva Thornley didn’t know why her limb kept swelling and, though her parents believed she had been fighting, they took her for blood tests. The family was crushed when doctors said Eva had leukaemia, an aggressive cancer of white blood cells. Despite the emotional diagnosis, the brave youngster is “still smiling and happy”.

She has undergone a gruelling 10-day chemotherapy course at Manchester Children’s Hospital but has lost all her hair.

Speaking to Manchester Evening News, dad Scott, 40, said: “It’s like your whole world crumbles.

“All the worst possible scenarios were going through my mind.

“You just assume the worst straight away as a parent. I felt grief, to be honest; it didn’t look like it was affecting me but inside it killed me.

“Her sister recently went for a blood test and found out she had a vitamin D deficiency, so we thought it might have been a lack of vitamin D. We asked how she got the bruises but she didn’t know. We thought they were from having a fight in school. We didn’t think at all, not even in the slightest, that we would go to hospital and it would be leukaemia.”

Eva celebrated her 10th birthday on Friday in hospital but her family hope she can return home for a couple of weeks in between treatments.

Scott, who is a window cleaner, continued: “The kids on the ward are so happy and they just get on with it. They’re not like adults. Eva’s hair has fallen out now because of the chemo, but if you met her and spoke to her, you wouldn’t think anything was wrong with her.

“When we got tested, they rang us at 10.30pm at night and said we needed to get to hospital straight away and alarm bells started to ring then. That’s how serious it was. 

“They warned us that when you walk onto the ward, you see kids with no hair, and it hit us like a ton of bricks. You don’t get sent there for no reason.

“Knowing your child has to go through what she’s gone through… all we have is positivity.

“That’s all we’ve got. There’s nothing whatsoever I can do to help my child. It’s an aggressive cancer so we’ve got the treat it aggressively.

“She had 10 days of chemotherapy, it’s a lot for a child to take. Even after 10 days she’s still smiling and happy. It’s just a horrible situation, but it makes me proud to be her dad.”

Now the family wants to help every child on Eva’s ward at the hospital, which is near the Chorlton-on-Medlock area of the city.

Funds will help the department buy new toys, sweets or games.

Eva’s sister Lily, 14, held a charity walk on August 17 and has almost raised more than £2,000 so far.

To donate, follow the link by clicking here.

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