TJ's family visited Ben's Retreat in July 2023.
TJ was a healthy happy 12 yr old lad, loved school, was a star pupil. Then I noticed he started losing weight, he didn’t want to get up for school, had poor appetite and bruises started appearing.
At first I thought he was being bullied and begged him to tell me if he was. He said no so I took him to the GP.
We were very fortunate that they did blood tests straight away. 6hrs later I had a phonecall to take him to hospital. Cancer didnt even cross my mind.
Being asked to go into a room away from him and hearing those words we think TJ has leukemia is something I will never forget.
My husband went back in and told him as I just couldnt do it. It was his 13th birthday the next day. Instead of going out with his friends he woke up in a hospital bed not knowing what was ahead of us.
The first 12 months have been horrific he caught covid and was really poorly. Needed so many blood/platelet transfusions they also discovered he has a gene thats puts him at high risk of relapse. So he had to change treatment plans and have a more intense one.
We finally reached maintenace a month ago where things should of got easier but they never.
He was admitted with a sickness bug and had central line removed and a port fitted. Which is better in the long run but days after the surgery he was in so much pain.
There are still 12 months to go of treatment, but we are hoping now that we can finally see light at the end of the tunnel.
TJ has been so so brave through everything, whenever anybody asks he says im fine. Its abit of a joke in our hospitals, they will say TJ we know your fine but if your not please tell us.
He always puts a smile on his face which I know most of the time is for my benefit.
We are so looking forward to quality time together, its so rare when my husband works so much or weve been invpatients at hospital so often.
Thank you so much to the Ben Saunders foundation for giving us this break. Its amazing what you do for families. ❤️