Danielle Riley urged parents to know the signs of leukaemia and chickenpox because the highly contagious disease can be fatal for children with low immune systems. It comes after her four-year-old son Gerard Price was put on a ventilator for eight days after contracting chickenpox while in remission for leukaemia.
His family were told to “prepare for the worst” as the youngster’s condition deteriorated rapidly.
In 2019, Gerard was diagnosed with leukaemia after his mother noticed a mark on his head which turned into a “funny coloured” lump after he banged it on a baby gate.
The lump continued to grow until it was “over his eyebrow” and tests from Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool found he had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia with a mutation.
Over the next three years, little Gerard battled “endless” rounds of chemotherapy and was eventually given the news he was in remission.
But last month, the brave tot became unwell with chickenpox, with his family told to “prepare for the worst”.
Ms Riley, from Crosby, told The Liverpool Echo: “He’s had a really tough ride throughout the last three years since he was diagnosed. But on the Saturday, I took him to hospital to get him checked because he had spots on him.
“We were told it was viral but on the Sunday he was in bad pain with his tummy and was screaming for me to take him to the hospital.
“Doctors thought he had constipation but with the rash they thought he also had chickenpox so he was treated for that.
“But on the Monday his breathing was getting worse, his oxygen dropped to 70 and his bowel was looking deflated so they were talking about surgery. But he was getting worse and on Tuesday we were taken into a room and told to prepare for the worst.”
READ MORE: Chickenpox frenzy as calamine runs out – other options
“I kept telling him he’s fought cancer for three years, he wasn’t getting taken down by chickenpox. He fought and didn’t give up.
“I can’t thank the staff enough, the way they worked as a team to save him. He’s a miracle.
“He’s now in remission and it’s a case of getting regular bloods and hopefully a bone marrow transplant and touch wood there’s no relapse.”
Ms Riley urged parents to “know the signs” of leukaemia and chickenpox, adding: “People say they can’t wait for their kids to catch it and want it to spread so they can get it over with, but it can be fatal”.