I'm sharing heartbreaking images of my son after a rash left him fighting for his life | The Sun
6th March 2023

A MUM has shared a heartbreaking image of her son in hospital after his rash turned out to be a sign of a deadly illness.

Jessica Cooke's son Harvey had also been struggling with tight muscles.

The 16-year-old, who lives with autism, had initially been prescribed medication to help with the pains.

However, rather than his pains being down to the soreness caused by tight muscles, medics discovered the youngster had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

This is a type of cancer that affects white blood cells, progresses quickly and requires immediate treatment, the NHS states.

Mum-of-five Jessica is now sharing photos of Harvey so that other parents don't just dismiss any bumps and has urged them to take their child to the GP for blood tests if they think anything is unusual.

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With Harvey struggling with pain, Jessica, who works as a nurse, ran him a warm bath.

It was then that she noticed her son had a rash on his feet that had spread to his arms.

The mum said the rash looked like 'speckles' and as though his blood had come to the surface of the skin.

On February 9, medics gave the teen diazepam to help with the pain, but Jessica said her son was still struggling, so much so that he was left crying in his room at night.

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"We had taken him to A&E because it had escalated to the point where he couldn't walk. He was in absolute agony," Jessica told the Manchester Evening News.

On February 14, the pain had become too much for Harvey, forcing Jessica and dad Stuart to call 111.

Harvey was taken to A&E where he was given morphine to cope.

He'd also turned very pale, so medics decided to take blood tests from the youngster.

Jessica said that straight away medics came back and broke the news to the family that Harvey had leukaemia.

"It was horrendous. His dad was with him and I was at home. When they phoned me to tell me I remember just screaming. I broke down," Jessica said.

The symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia you need to know

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia usually starts slowly before rapidly becoming severe as the number of immature white blood cells (blast cells) in your blood increases, the NHS states.

Most of the time, the symptoms are caused by a lack of healthy blood cells.

The NHS states the main symptoms include:

  • pale skin
  • feeling tired and breathless
  • repeated infections over a short time
  • unusual and frequent bleeding, such as bleeding gums or nosebleeds
  • high temperature
  • night sweats
  • bone and joint pain
  • easily bruised skin
  • swollen lymph nodes (glands)
  • tummy (abdominal pain) – caused by a swollen liver or spleen
  • unintentional weight loss
  • a purple skin rash (purpura)

The NHS states that you might also have other symptoms if the affected cancer cells spread from your bloodstream to your central nervous system.

This can cause neurological issues such as:

  • headaches
  • seizures or fits
  • being sick
  • blurred vision
  • dizziness

Jessica said she 'got her nurses head on' and asked medics what the next steps would be for her son.

The next day he was transferred to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, with further tests revealing he had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Harvey had to go through four weeks of chemotherapy and now has to have three lots of medication each week.

Doctors will then review how he is responding to treatment and Jessica said that throughout everything Harvey has been her 'amazing son'.

The mum, from Middleton, a town in Greater Manchester, said that because of Harvey's age, medics have said the outcome should be positive.

She said parents shouldn't accept the first answer they get when something is wrong with their child.

"Especially because children and teenagers have falls or bumps all the time, but it could still be something sinister. My fear is other teenagers could present with these pains and not know they are at risk. They just need a simple blood tests to get the answers and rule it out," she added.

The family are currently having to split their time looking after Harvey and also taking care of their four other children.

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Jessica has also had to take time off work in order to care for Harvey.

Friends of the family have now created a GoFundMe page in order to help raise money for the family.

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