The family of a 10-year-old boy who has just finished cancer treatment are celebrating his round of “last treatments”.
Daniel Jones marked the end of more than three and a half years living with leukaemia by ringing St George’s end-of-treatment bell – cheered on by his family and by staff.
“The best part of this whole process has, of course, been when Daniel has reached his ‘lasts’,” said Daniel’s dad, Philip Jones. “His last chemotherapy appointment, his last lumbar puncture, his last weekly medication, his last daily medication, and finally his port being taken out.”
Daniel, who lives in Tooting, was diagnosed with leukaemia in February 2020, when he was six years old, and Covid was just rearing its head.
Daniel, who is one of four brothers, fell ill with a virus at the same time as his sibling Noah. Philip recalls that Daniel took longer to recover, and a couple of days later he was ill again, this time with a temperature all day.
It was at this point that Suzanne Jones, Daniel’s mum, had a feeling something was wrong.
“My wife’s concern grew as Daniel had started having unexplained bruises on his legs,” said Phillip.
“Towards the end of the day that he was ill with a temperature, she noticed red marks on his ear lobes, chest and back.”
“I stayed the night in hospital with Daniel while Suzanne looked after the boys at home. She came into St George’s the next morning. We then got some of the results from his tests.”
The Jones family received news that any family would fear: Daniel had B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Daniel spent his first week at St George’s Hospital while he was being stabilised with antibiotics and blood transfusions.
He then started his chemotherapy at the Royal Marsden for 11 days. Throughout his treatment, his care was jointly provided by both hospitals.
At the same time, the pandemic was taking hold. “We became more anxious about the pandemic as we knew Daniel was now vulnerable and immunosuppressed,” said Philip.
Speaking on the current NHS England consultation into children’s cancer services, where the service that treated Daniel could be relocated away from St George’s Hospital, Philip said: “You can’t use public transport when your child is immunosuppressed, and I can’t imagine having to drive into central London every time Daniel needed urgent care.”
Last month, with Daniel’s close and extended family there to celebrate with him, and a huge batch of homemade cupcakes, he proudly rang the end-of-treatment bell on a cold but sunny day in St George’s gardens, cheered on not least by his three brothers.
The charity Momentum, which has supported the family with online tuition for Daniel, a boat ride on the Thames, and stays at a holiday cabin in the UK, also came in and was praised by the family.
Suzanne, who herself used to be a nurse at St George’s Hospital, added: “Thank you again to all the team at St George’s and the Royal Marsden for the amazing care Daniel has received. The knowledge, care, and expertise have been outstanding.”
Pictured top: Daniel rings the cancer the cancer bell at St George’s hospital in Tooting (Picture: Suzanne Jones)
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