Samuel was just four years old when he was diagnosed in October 2022 with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that develops in nerve cells and often starts in the stomach. Samuel is being treated at Southampton General Hospital, with shared care by Worthing Hospital, and remains cheerful and happy. But his parents know that difficult times lie ahead. His cancer is stage 4, so very serious, and Samuel requires an aggressive regime of treatment to give him the best possible chance.
Although he’s taken the diagnosis in his stride, it’s still early days with the treatment. There’s a long way to go and many challenges ahead. The arrival of a Kid’s Kit made such a difference to Samuel, restoring his smile and giving him a much-needed boost. He loved the games inside the Kit, which mean he can have fun when he’s in hospital.
Samuel’s mum, Heather, writes:
“Samuel loved receiving something that was for him alone. He was very excited as he unpacked the bag.
“The microwavable rabbit is his favourite soft toy for snuggling up with when going to sleep, especially as he’s been feeling the cold more than usual, due to the treatment. The socks have been great, as his feet and hands have been particularly cold, and he loves how soft they are. He put the antibacterial hand wipes and tissues in the bag he carries with his line clamp kit and has almost finished them. The yoyo has been played with a lot by him and his brothers.
“He likes the fact that the kit showed an understanding for what his needs are at this time in his journey. All the contents are useful, fun and comforting.”
Prior to diagnosis, Samuel had unexplained including quick bursts of pain under his armpit, accompanied by vomiting. Private assessments revealed nothing. Finally a GP referred him for an abdominal ultrasound, which showed a large abdominal tumour and a secondary one in his chest.
Eventually, the family received the news that it was in fact high risk, poorly differentiated stage 4 neuroblastoma.
“We went from thinking he might have gallstones or similar, to having our world crash around us with the word cancer forcing its way into our lives. Samuel had sepsis and an ITU admission at ten days old, when he was very close to death and sustained brain damage. We felt that this cancer was very unfair, after all the trauma he had already been through.
“We have to take life one day at a time. There is no guarantee that we won’t end up in hospital on any given day. We want Samuel to enjoy as much of a normal life as possible, including school. We don’t want him to feel confined by his cancer, we want him to be a five year old boy and to still have fun. We try and stay positive for him.
“Samuel is such an upbeat, outgoing little man. He’s a performer and extremely sociable, so he finds hospital stays with just one of us, really challenging. He enjoys dancing, singing and sports and has tried his best to not let his cancer slow him down. He is very empathetic and has made the rule that we are not allowed to be sad in front of him because it makes him feel sad too.
“He thoroughly enjoys life, whether he’s at school or going out for a bike ride. He has so many interests and is always full of laughter and joy, even when he’s feeling poorly.
“Samuel has an older brother, Finley, age six, and a younger brother, George, who is two. They are all so different, but they’re very close. He thrives in the company of his brothers and feels better when they are around him.
“Samuel is currently undergoing high dose chemo and a stem cell transplant, which means spending five to six weeks in protective isolation at the hospital. He’s doing really well and is keen to play, so the Kids’ Kit really helps to keep him entertained.”
Will you help us fill a Cancer Kit – and deliver a smile?
Our cancer kits provide some much-needed comfort to children and adults who are having to endure cancer treatment. Every donation you give today will help us to fund more kits – and you’ll help us deliver a smile when it’s needed the most. Thank you.