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Tot diagnosed with rare form of cancer defies odds to become cancer-free

“It was so difficult but somehow, we pulled through as a family."

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By Lydia Patrick via SWNS

A toddler diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at 21 months old defied the odds and has been declared cancer-free.

Leanne Waite, 31, and her husband, Chris, 32, a builder, were dressing their son, Abie, three, when they noticed his left arm was in severe pain after it got caught in his t-shirt in April 2021.

After going to Great Western Hospital A&E, Swindon, Wiltshire, they were told by medical staff the tot could have been a broken collarbone or a pulled elbow.

One week later, they took him back to A&E after they had discovered a lump on his collarbone.

He was transferred to Bristol’s Children Hospital where medics suspected a callus bump - a hard skin mass.

After a biopsy, the family’s worst fears were confirmed, when Albie was diagnosed with a rhabdoid tumor which has a general prognosis of just six to 12 months.

The tot had surgery to remove some of the tumor - which left him with a scar that stretches across his neck. He also underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

In December 2021, his parents received the news he was cancer-free - a day they thought they'd never see.

Now the family cherishes every day with each other and urge other parents to follow their instincts when they know something is wrong.

Mum-of-four, Leanne from Fairford, Gloucestershire, said: “I cannot even explain the shock of finding out Albie had cancer.

“We thought he had a poorly arm and were given a cancer diagnosis.

“It went from an injury to a prognosis.

“It was so difficult but somehow, we pulled through as a family.

“He was so tired all the time and had no energy to do anything.

“Watching him bounce back to the boisterous child he was before is just amazing.”

It took six weeks for the parents to get a prognosis after several trips to the hospital - by which time the tumor had quadrupled in size.

Amazingly, Leanne managed to breastfeed Albie throughout his whole treatment and was pregnant with her youngest, Addy, one, at the same time.

She only stopped breastfeeding Albie a week before Addy was born.

Leanne added: “I couldn’t have done it without my family’s support."

Leanne’s sister, Megan, 25, and mum, Kelly, 50, looked after her other children - Lilly, 10, and Poppy, eight - whilst the couple traveled all over the country to be with Albie while he underwent treatment.

“Albie went from being a boisterous boy who loved running around to not being able to do a lot," Leanne said.

"He was hooked to a feeding machine three times a day and couldn’t be a normal toddler.”

Albie had trips and stays in Swindon's Great Western Hospital, Wiltshire, Leeds General Hospital, Yorkshire, Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London and Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, as he underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy and physiotherapy.

On 23rd December 2021 - just two days before Christmas - he made a miraculous recovery and rang the bell to declare he was cancer-free at Bristol Children’s Hospital

Leanne said: “Albie is amazing, he doesn’t have use of his right arm but takes it in his stride.

“He loves running around and is a social butterfly.

“I think because he spent so much of his early days in and out of hospital surrounded by different staff, he has become so socially advanced.”

Radiotherapy wiped Albie out and he had really bad sores and chemotherapy made him constantly drained and run down.

Albie's siblings were supportive throughout his treatment.

“Albie loves playing with his sisters, going to the park walking and animals," Leanne said.

“It sounds strange to say but I love how he’s started to be a bit naughty after he was so wiped out from his treatment for so long.

"He's really getting his personality."

The little boy had to have surgery to remove some of the tumor meaning he has a scar stretching across his neck.

“Now we don’t take any family time we have together for granted and cherish each moment we have together," Leanne said.

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