An eight-year-old fighting leukemia is set for a brilliant Christmas at home just 12 months after he spent the festive period in hospital.
Sam Montgomery of Acacia Avenue, Dogsthorpe, is in remission from acute lymphoblastic leukemia which was diagnosed in December 2015.
And for mum Kelly the greatest gift she can receive this Christmas is spending the big day with her son and partner and away from a hospital bed like last year.
She said: “I’m just praying for a better Christmas this year – anything is better than last year, and as long as we’re at home together as a family, I don’t care what we do.”
It took Kelly several weeks to help Sam get his diagnosed - she claimed she was “fobbed off” by her GP surgery with Sam’s symptoms said to be misdiagnosed as constipation or a virus.
On one occasion, Kelly added, Sam was so ill his school phoned her up one day saying he had fallen asleep in class and could not be woken up.
But their lives changed dramatically on December 17 when they went to the emergency department at Peterborough City Hospital where Sam, still in his school uniform, received his diagnosis.
Mum and son were then quickly transferred by ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge which specialises in childhood cancer treatment.
Kelly said: “As soon as the doctor said bone marrow I knew he had leukemia. I thought my world had come crashing down.”
Spending all the festive season in hospital was difficult for Kelly and Sam - “It was heart-wrenching for us both watching the other children go home,” said Kelly.
But help was at hand from Amy, a CLIC Sargent social worker based within the charity’s independent team at the hospital.
Kelly said: “The first thing Amy did was give us a CLIC Sargent grant of £170 which was a massive help, as the extra cost of me eating at the hospital had already started to add up. She’s also been a big support emotionally.
“When I’m having a bad day, and there have been more than a few of those over the past year, I know I can call her for a chat. Her support has been invaluable.”
Sam was discharged on New Year’s Day and is back at Dogsthorpe Academy, but he has to take chemotherapy daily for the next three years.
Kelly said: “He has done really, really well. He gets on with it and has not moaned.”
And Kelly and Sam are now asking people to support CLIC Sargent’s Christmas fundraising appeal.
Kelly added: “This Christmas there will be other families just like ours who are told their child has cancer. So please give what you can to help CLIC Sargent support these families when they need it most,” added Kelly.
To donate, visit: www.clicsargent.org.uk/donate.