The mum of a teenage girl who thought she had tonsillitis for a year only to be told it was leukaemia has today spoken of her shock.
South Shore Academy pupil Ayisha Green suffered from a sore throat on and off for 12 months and visited her local GP around six times before she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
I have alopecia – she said we could go wig shopping together
The 13-year-old is now receiving treatment at Manchester Children’s Hospital, where she has just begun her second round of chemotherapy.
Mum Jayne, 40, said the condition is ‘treatable’ but the family has now been informed she needs a bone marrow transplant – and her older brothers both stepped up to offer their own to save their sister.
Jayne, who wants to make other parents aware of the condition, added: “We thought it was tonsillitis. The last time she had it was in May and we noticed she was losing weight really rapidly. My partner thought she might have an eating disorder.”
She took her daughter to Blackpool Victoria Hospital for a blood test on June 18. The following day she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia – cancer of the blood – and transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Mum-of-three Jayne, who lives with her daughter on Watson Road, said: “It was so shocking.
“The first thing she said was ‘am I going to lose my hair?’ and I said ‘yes’.
“I suffer from alopecia so I wear a wig, and she said we could go wig-shopping together.
“I thought she would be upset and crying but she just took it really well.
“All the kids that are in Manchester Hospital are so resilient, it’s unbelievable. The children are just so strong.”
Ayisha will now have to undergo a potentially lifesaving bone marrow transplant – and the family hopes the donor might be just around the corner, as her older brothers Joshua, 17, and Connor, 16, are currently being tested as a possible match.
Jayne said: “My oldest son is 17 and him and Ayisha have always been a bit like chalk and cheese – but since the diagnosis they have become much closer.
“It’s definitely brought the children together.
“We’re still waiting at the moment and it can be up to two weeks before we find out if one of them is a match, but we know there are other donors out there.
“We thought she was just going to need the chemotherapy and that we would be OK, but within 10 minutes of being told she was responding well to the chemotherapy we were told she would need a transplant.
“It could be another eight weeks until she can get out and spend a week or two at home, and then she’ll come back for more treatment.”
Ayisha, who is continuing her school studies from her hospital bed, said: “When I went to see my local GP she said it was tonsillitis but we didn’t think it was because it reoccurred so quickly.
“Then I lost a lot of weight. I would take one bite and then I wasn’t hungry. I lost about half my body weight.
“My family have been very supportive.
“Even though me and my brother don’t get on, when he found out he cried and I thought I was going to cry at that point.”
Jayne added: “I want to let everyone know, if your children are coming down with an infection and it’s always the same thing, it might be a sign of something more serious.
“You can see a doctor but it’s not every day they take a blood test, which is how we found out about Ayisha.
“Leukaemia can often show itself through tonsillitis because it affects the immune system.
“The prognosis is that it’s treatable and they are giving her all the treatment she needs.
“There’s a chance it could reoccur but we will cross that bridge if we get to it.”