A THREE-year-old boy from Elsecar whose parents thought he was suffering from hay fever has been diagnosed with leukaemia.
Charlie’s parents, 25-year-old Laura Fay and 31-year-old Jak Bragan, saw their lives turn upside down on August 24 following their son’s cancer diagnosis.
Laura said that the youngster had been complaining of feeling sick - but a first visit to Barnsley Hospital wasn’t enough to initially diagnose him.
She told the Chronicle: “He had really puffy eyes but we just assumed it was hay fever. He started being sick but we didn’t manage to get him into the doctors so we rang 111. Because of the rash he had, they sent for an ambulance to take him to Barnsley Hospital but they told us it wasn’t anything to worry about. He started to deteriorate and couldn’t walk - he just fell to his knees.
“He was really lethargic and had lots of really bad bruises that we just couldn’t understand.
“I went to the doctors and demanded that he was seen - after lots of tests they found out his liver and spleen were quite large.”
After a visit to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Charlie’s family were told the devastating news.
“He was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia,” said Laura. “It felt like our world had just stopped. It was just so shocking - we didn’t for a second think that it would be this.
“We thought it might have been anaemia because he was very pale.”
Charlie has started chemotherapy at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, but the treatment has left him very weak.
“He’s not doing very well,” she added. “He’s putting weight on because he’s on steroids and he’s going to eventually lose his hair. It’s quite a big treatment for someone so young. We’re here at the hospital two to three times a week.”
After his shock diagnosis, the community has rallied round to support Charlie and his family after the devastating news.
The family’s friends decided to create a fundraiser which has so far raised more than £5,000 in just a matter of days.
Both his parents have had to stop working for the time being to support Charlie and, with bills already tight due to the cost-of-living crisis, the family have little to no income currently.
The fundraiser aims to raise £7,500 for the family - which will go towards financial support such as travel expenses, making changes in their home to support Charlie’s needs, days out with family and friends and potentially a holiday.
But it’s not all about the money for Laura - who says she wants to raise awareness of the dreadful disease.
“Charlie has got such an infectious laugh,” she added.
“He’s normally on the go all the time but at the minute he can’t do that.
“The fundraiser is really overwhelming - I can’t thank people enough.
“We never thought that much would be raised.
“I was a self-employed beautician and Jak works at Rolls Royce - we’ve both had to stop work because we’ve got to give him 24-hour care.
“It’s not just about the money though, we want to raise as much awareness as we possibly can.”
An event will be taking place on October 1, at the Wellington Inn in Jump, from 3pm to 7pm to raise funds for the cause and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.