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Stay at Home for Emilie

Around the world millions of people are being told to stay at home in order to slow down the spread of Covid19. Currently the British government are asking people to only go outside for food, health reasons or work. If we do have to go out for daily exercise or to get essential supplies, we’re asked to follow social distancing rules staying 2m away from other people except from those in our household.

Many families have found this difficult, with things that we often take for granted such as bumping into friends in the park, celebrating special occasions together and going for days out in the nice weather now not possible.

But this is nothing new for many childhood cancer survivors. For them, staying at home or on a hospital ward for a long period of time, has helped keep them safe.

Emilie was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer just two weeks after her second birthday. Emilie needed chemotherapy and a liver transplant along with other procedures and treatment after she ended up on life support. The chemotherapy reduced Emilie’s immune system meaning during her treatment Emilie spent over 1 year in isolation. She couldn’t leave the ward or home, go to school to see her friends or see her family unless they visited the hospital following strict instructions to prevent the spread of germs and infections.

Now cancer free, Emilie continues to take immunosuppressants which make her more susceptible to infections. This means Emilie often has to be taken out of school to self-isolate, as she finds it hard to fight off common illnesses that would only cause a slight cold in others. Emilie’s mum Becky told us: “Emilie is used to missing out on lots of school activities such as the Christmas disco when lots of illnesses are around.”

Although Emilie is used to being at home, being away from friends can be difficult to understand.  “Emilie is coping a lot better at the moment because all of her friends are off so she can understand better, and it doesn’t feel unfair”

Just 2 weeks before the UK went into lockdown Emilie was taken out of school to prevent her from catching coronavirus.  “Emilie had to be taken out of school early after a Teaching Assistant had been in-contact with someone with the virus.”

“The GP who lives next door also has Covid19 and once recovered is around people with the virus. This means we have to limit the amount of time Emilie can spend out in the garden which is difficult as she is also vitamin D deficient.”

Sadly for many childhood cancer survivors, being at home is a way of life, and the next 12 weeks is nothing new for them. But if children like Emilie can, then so can you. Emilie says “Please, pretty please, stay at home for me”

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