We are mum Beverley, dad Jason, big brother Ethan and Jensen from Huddersfield. Jensen, now six, is a fun-loving, adventurous little boy who always keeps us on our toes.
Jensen was diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma in September 2018. We had been worried about his health for a while, going back and forth to the doctors, with everything coming to a head when Fluid started leaking from his bowel into his body. We were rushed straight to the HDU (High Dependency Unit) at the LGI where we received his diagnosis. Jensen’s treatment plan was short but intensive, seeing us spend almost all of his treatment in hospital on ward L31. He was very sick when we were first admitted to the hospital and the first rounds of chemotherapy hit him hard. He was so, so poorly – more than we could have ever imagined. However, with each round of chemo and surgery in between, he was getting stronger and we could slowly see our little boy returning.
Our first contact with Candlelighters was on L31. This is where we were introduced to Elaine, our ‘fairy godmother’. Even though Jensen was refusing to eat, she would come to see us every morning to check if we needed anything. Elaine asked Jensen if he would like some ‘rocket toast’; this caught his attention and from that moment on became his staple diet – he loved it.
Candlelighters have supported us all through our cancer journey, from diagnosis till now. Ethan has always attended the Sibling Groups at The Square and even the residential in 2019 which did wonders for his confidence. Jensen however, had only just been to his first Patient Group in March, days before lockdown. We were so grateful that Candlelighters adapted their services to continue supporting the children virtually. One of the first things the boys took part in was a one-to-one craft session, where they made ‘Gribbits’ – a fun frog game. It kept Jensen focused the whole time (which is unusual for him!) so we knew he really enjoyed it.
When lockdown first happened, both boys seemed to adapt well to the new routine and homeschooling but as time went on, they found it increasingly di? cult, especially Jensen. The group Zoom calls provided by Candlelighters gave both boys a chance to interact with other children and have a bit of fun, including a bit of dressing-up and decorating for the virtual Halloween party!
When we got the all-clear in March 2019, we had made it our mission to give Jensen the best year ever, which included lots of travel and adventures. 2020 made us slow down and appreciate the places close by and the fun family times and memories we can make at home.
Now, we’re looking forwards to supporting Candlelighters in any way we can at future events. Our hope is that by the end of this year, things will be better for all and (once it’s safe to do so) The Square can re-open and Candlelighters can resume supporting families in person, with a place for parents to visit away from the ward, as well as their virtual support.
Beverley, Jason, Ethan and Jensen x
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