Stay at Home for Theo

In this time of coronavirus, life and treatment goes on for childhood cancer survivors like Theo who has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, he’s 5 years old.

He needs chemotherapy treatment every day for three and a half years, and still has two years left to go.

Leukaemia attacks the white blood cells that are needed to fight infection. Added to the effects of his ongoing chemo, Theo’s immune system is very weak and if he catches coronavirus, he’s likely to get very ill. Theo and his immediate family are in isolation but he still has to go out, to attend regular appointments at the hospital.

Theo’s Dad Lawrence explains they’ve had to change their routine, to help keep Theo safe: “We’re normally going into the hospital as a family but now its just me, with the one parent per child rule. Normally we’d go up to the ward [children’s cancer ward] have a chin wag, meet friends but now we go up have his thumb prick test to check bloods then go back to sit in the car.

Mum Katt adds: “so he’s having the consultation in the car. We understand that they don’t want him in but it’s a bit of a worry him going in for these tests.”

As a five year old boy, isolation is hard for Theo, as it is for many. He misses going out to play, going to school and seeing his Nanny. Theo has a special way of greeting his Nanny when she comes to drop off supplies.

“When we kiss at the window the heart goes out in the kisses too and we say miss you. And every single day we have to stay indoors when you’re not allowed to go near people”

Knowing just how at risk Theo is from this virus, is stressful but Mum Katt says the whole family are taking extra care:

“Its hard being on top of each other all the time and for his two older brothers. Their routine was already disrupted over the past 18 months, now with this it’s obviously an upheaval again. We are constantly handwashing, our hands are so sore with all the washing. Even Theo is paranoid about it and picking up his toys with his elbows as he’s just washed his hands. Everything that can be is washed down every day, even the front door, letterbox”

Theo understands it’s important that he stays in and he wants others to stay safe too. His mum asked him what would he say to people who want to go out shopping or to the park, he replied:

“No because of this nasty bug making all people poorly… The bug is really, really nasty and makes people really, really poorly. Doctor is trying to make people better, and if you’re caught by the nasty bug you have to go to hospital and you get better.”

But Theo’s parents have a stronger message. They want people to embrace staying in, to enjoy it while you can:

Katt: “You get time to spend with your family and yes they’ll drive you insane at times but be very grateful. We have a lot of friends who have lost children along the way who don’t get that chance to spend time with their children.”

“I feel sorry for the doctors and nurses who most probably want to stay home, stay with their family and not put themselves at risk but they are putting themselves at risk because they want to help other people”

And she pleads with people not to be selfish, going out could hurt not only vulnerable people like Theo, but people you love too:

Katt: “you going out socialising with friends, you might have a great immune system but has your Nan, your Mum, your Dad, brother, nephew? People with asthma… you’re putting at risk their health. Its not worth it to go out. Stay in.


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