Mum Spotted Toddler's Cancer By Chance After He Fell Out Of Bed

14/08/2014 17:00 | Updated 20 May 2015

Zack Nicholls, three, is battling Ewing's sarcoma

A toddler is fighting a rare form of bone cancer discovered by pure luck after he fell out of bed.

Zack Nicholls, three, is battling Ewing's sarcoma - a deadly disease which strikes less than 35 children in the UK every year.

Zach's mum Melanie Bosley, 39, from Stowmarket, Suffolk, only discovered he had the disease when she checked him over after he took a tumble out of bed in the night.

"Zack's journey started on September 6 last year when he fell out of bed," said Melanie. "I checked him over and he was fine, although upset, so I slept at his bedside.

"The next morning he was off his food and just wasn't right so I checked him over again. I found a big lump on his shoulder and I thought he had dislocated it."

Worried Melanie took Zack straight to West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds. The little boy had an X-ray and saw an orthopaedic surgeon.

"We had to go back in the following day for a scan and that's when the word 'tumour' was mentioned for the first time," explained Melanie.

"We had the scan and within the hour we were told it was a tumour and he needed to go to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. We walked onto the paediatric day unit at Addenbrooke's and that's when it hit me just how poorly Zack was.

"Zack underwent a series of tests and on October 2 he had a central line put in and I was told he had Ewing's sarcoma of his scapula. The doctor said it was localised and hadn't spread and that he would need six rounds of chemotherapy and surgery at Birmingham Royal Orthopaedic Hospital."

Zach then went on to have chemotherapy treatment and had surgery in February to remove his shoulder blade and part of his collar bone.

"The aim was to remove 95. The next recommended course of action was radiotherapy which, in this country, they don't like to do in young children because it stops the bones growing.

"But it was agreed by all of Zack's doctors that it was the best way to go because the cancer is at a high risk of returning and this will give him the best chance of it not recurring."

Melanie applied for Zack to have radical proton beam therapy at Oklahoma City Hospital in America, and within days she was accepted.

The extensive course of treatment is funded by the NHS, which will pay for travel costs and accommodation for Melanie and Zack.

With Zack's big sister, Abigail, nine, they will fly across the Atlantic at the end of April for about eight weeks.

"For a child that's growing, the proton therapy will do less damage, but that doesn't mean all the risks are gone," added Melanie. "There will be some compromises to make when we're in America but we don't know until we are there.

"The hardest thing as a mum is seeing how this disease scars and takes part of your baby away. It's cruel but little ones just bounce back. Zack has never sat down and felt sorry for himself. He is still my perfect little baby no matter how many tubes I've seen coming out of him or how many scars he's got.

"But you always have in the back of your mind that he is fighting something that could kill him."

Melanie said she is keen to include older child Abigail along the way as she is aware of Zack's condition.

"Abigail can see what's happening and why Zack needs to go there for treatment. Being there for eight weeks without her was just not going to be a possibility."

Melanie said her biggest fear was Zack relapsing, but the whole family is looking forward to September when the chemotherapy and radiotherapy will finish.

"I'm hoping Zack will be able to start nursery then and I can start back at work," she added.

Source: Archant


Suggest a correction