United Kingdom

Four-year-old boy is fighting leukaemia after a GP diagnosed his discomfort as growing pains

A four-year-old boy is fighting leukaemia after a GP initially diagnosed his discomfort as growing pains.

Jaxson Clark from Bristol was originally given Calpol to deal with his achy legs, but a few days later he developed a swollen neck and returned to his doctor.

Within hours he was rushed to hospital, where scans revealed he had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

He has since undergone a month of chemotherapy and doctors have warned he could face three years of treatment. 

His mother Sophie Kenvin, 28, believes more needs to be done to identify child illnesses at a local GP level.

Four-year-old Jaxson Clark is fighting leukaemia after a GP initially diagnosed his discomfort as growing pains. Pictured with his parents Sophie and Mitch and sister Bella

Jaxson, (pictured) from Bristol, was initially given Calpol to deal with his achy legs but a few days later he developed a swollen neck and returned to his doctor

She had to ring her surgery several times regarding his high temperature before she could get a face-to-face appointment with a GP.

She said: 'I had Googled the symptoms the day before and I did see leukaemia - but just thought 'nah it can't be that'.

'They said we'd caught it early so I think he'd only had it for a couple of weeks. They have a high success rate for treating leukaemia.

'I think the problem with GPs is it's alright if you're an adult and you can explain your own symptoms - but no GPs are paediatrics.

Within hours he was rushed to hospital, where scans revealed he had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

'I think they should have one paediatric in every surgery.

'The fact that I could Google the two symptoms and spot leukaemia shows they had no clue.'

Jaxson first developed painful legs back in November and Sophie had a video call consultation on a Sunday with a GP, who suggested she give him Calpol.

But when his symptoms failed to improve she rang back on the Monday and a different doctor suggested he have a Covid test.

He has since undergone a month of chemotherapy and doctors have warned he could face three years of treatment

The results for that came back negative the following day and Jaxson finally got in front of a doctor at the surgery on the Wednesday.

She said: 'The doctor asked me to get Jaxson to walk for me - I said 'that's not a normal walk'.

'He said he couldn't feel anything and that his joints were okay - but he rang paediatrics just in case and said he had a swollen neck, legs were aching.

'They said straight away he needed to come in and look at him and he was diagnosed that day.'

His mother Sophie Kenvin, 28, believes more needs to be done to identify child illnesses at a local GP level. Jaxson is pictured in hospital

 The chemotherapy has caused all his hair to fall out and he has lost the strength to walk

Jaxson (pictured) was taken to the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children where he was diagnosed on November 25

Jaxson was taken to the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children where he was diagnosed on November 25.

The chemotherapy has caused all his hair to fall out and he has lost the strength to walk.

Thankfully on the final day of the first phase of chemo, samples found zero leukaemia in his bone marrow.

However, he still faces a long road to full recovery.

'It made the last four weeks of hell worth it,' Sophie added.

'He's due to start school in September, but he'll be in the maintenance stage of his care, so fingers crossed he'll be okay.'

Thankfully on the final day of the first phase of chemo, samples found zero leukaemia in his bone marrow (pictured in recovery)

Sophie and Jaxson's father Mitch were already struggling financially after he lost his work as a chef and then a barber because of the pandemic.

Now they are also juggling hospital visits with looking after their one-year-old daughter, Bella.

Sophie said: 'We're grateful that we're a strong couple, constantly being away from each other for so long.'

Friends have set up a crowdfunding page to raise £600 to support the couple, which can be found here. 

WHAT IS ACUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC LEUKAEMIA?

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is a type of blood cancer that starts from young white blood cells in the bone marrow.

There are around 810 new cases in the UK every year. In the US, ALL affects approximately 1.7 adults per 100,000.

Anyone can develop ALL, however, it mainly affects younger people.

Many ALL symptoms are vague and flu-like, such as:

General weakness

Fatigue

Fever

Frequent infections

Bruising or bleeding easily, including nosebleeds, heavy periods and blood in the urine or faeces

Unexplained weight loss

Bone or joint pain

Breathlessness

Swollen lymph nodes

Feeling full

Paler skin than normal

Risks for developing ALL include exposure to radiation, smoking, being overweight and having a weak immune system.

Research suggests being breastfed and exposed to childhood infections may reduce a person's risk.

The main ALL treatment is chemotherapy. Patients may also have radiotherapy, steroids or bone marrow transplants.

Source: Cancer Research UK

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