Belle's family visited Ben's Retreat in June 2023.
On Wednesday 3rd February 2020 Belles Dad noticed that her face looked a little “droopy” so saw the GP that evening, a blood test followed the next morning and by Thursday evening Belle had been admitted to Birmingham Children’s hospital with suspected leukaemia.
By Friday evening belle had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia an aggressive cancer that needed to be treated quickly and chemotherapy started first thing on Saturday morning.
Belle’s leukaemia cells were also found behind her eyes and in her neck therefore she had twice weekly intrathecal chemo under aesthetic alongside the intravenous chemo. This is what had caused the facial palsy, Belle could not close her eye, eat or drink properly using her mouth and had trouble talking and smiling.
Belle had 4 cycles of intense chemo over 6 months and also experienced serious allergic reactions to certain blood transfusions, several infections including sepsis and difficulties with her chest which meant she spent a lot of time in BCH even after she was given ger remission status. Belle spent a lot of the year using a Nasal Gastric Feeding Tube as well as time using TPN which is nutrition administered intravenously when an individual cannot tolerate food or drink.
Due to the COVID pandemic Belle had a lot of time away from home, shielding when on home breaks and only seeing one parent at a time – she especially missed her twin sister Lola and her big brother Cole!
On New Years Eve Belle finally had her Hickman Line removed so she could have her favourite bubbly bath and, eventually, even go swimming!
12 months on and Belle continues to be in remission and has now started to go back to school a few days a week which she is loving!
Throughout this journey Belle has encountered so many difficult times and been so, very poorly and she has never moaned about it once. All 3 children have been unbelievably brave and of course love having belle back with them at home other than the odd little trip to BCH now and again!
We loved staying in Bens den in March ‘22 and the children are beyond exciting to be returning. Thank you to everyone at BSF 👍🏻