The parents of a young girl found out she had cancer after a cute photograph of her falling asleep in a swing turned out to be a symptom of the deadly disease. Dave Fletcher thought he was capturing a tender childhood moment when he took a picture of daughter Izzy, now 3, dozing off at a playground when she was 23 months old.
But just a few weeks later Fletcher and his wife, Vicky, were devastated after learning their toddler’s tiredness turned out to be a sign that she had leukemia. The youngster has since undergone 570 doses of grueling chemotherapy and is now receiving maintenance therapy in a bid to stop the cancer from returning. Fletcher said he thought nothing of it at first when he snapped Izzy nodding off in the swing at a park near their home in Claines, England.
He is now warning other parents to be vigilant and look out for the telltale signs of the disease. “It was just an afternoon pop out to the swings. She was swinging away — I turned around and she had dropped off,” Fletcher told the Sun. “She was drowsy and fell asleep, but I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was a cute moment and just took a picture of her. It was only afterward we realized it was all part of the symptoms and what I’d captured was her displaying signs of something more sinister.”
The couple first took Izzy to a GP in January of last year after a strange rash appeared on her leg. They were advised to come back several days later for blood tests if the rash had not gone and to take her straight to the hospital if it got worse. “She had been tired, had had a few colds or viruses, and quite a bit of bruising on her legs. But we put all this down to normal childhood bumps and minor illness,” said her dad.
However, by the next morning Izzy’s rash had spread and she then developed a fever, so her parents took her to Worcester Royal Hospital. She was diagnosed with leukemia the same day and began a course of chemotherapy the following week.
Izzy spent her second birthday in Birmingham Children’s Hospital waiting to have a procedure to sample her bone marrow. As part of her care, Izzy was enrolled in a clinical trial called UKALL 2011 and will remain on treatment until May 2019. This trial aims to see if changing the standard chemotherapy treatment will reduce side effects and help stop the disease from coming back.
“She has grown up very quickly and been subjected to medicine she doesn’t like but has taken everything in her stride so far,” Izzy’s father added. “You get a bit sentimental, looking at pictures of her before she was ill — you just realize how much she’s been through at such a young age.”
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