Tia Llewellyn, a young 12-year-old girl from Milford Haven, Wales, began vomiting one morning in late November, and was sent home from school with what was thought to just be a common bug.
However, the next day she woke up and was still feeling unwell, so went to her local hospital, Withybush General Hospital in Haverfordwest, where blood tests were taken before she was transferred to Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen, slightly further away.
Just half an hour after being sent home with a suspected kidney infection, she was told to go straight to the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales, Cardiff, because she had cancer.
Doctors initially informed the family that Tia had Burkitts Lymphoma, a rare but treatable cancer of the lymph nodes. Tumours were also found in her kidneys and neck and her family was told that she required treatment in the US. However, her bone marrow had to be treated in the UK first.
A mere three days later however, doctors revealed that Tia actually had Stage 4 Alveolar Rhadomyosarcoma – a rare form of soft-tissue cancer that develops in the supporting or connective tissues of the body.
Just before she was about to start treatment, Tia needed a Hickman line to be inserted into her veins, but she began to bleed heavily, and her kidneys started to fail at the same time, resulting in her needing dialysis.
Unfortunately, when doctors tried to start the treatment, her blood kept clotting and they had to place her in an induced coma so they could insert a catheter. The bleeding continued and Tia had to have several blood transfusions to keep her alive. Doctors put her chances of survival at a mere 5% at this stage.
Kerryanne Clayton, a family member, said she’d ‘never seen a child deteriorate so quickly‘.
Unfortunately, after contracting a chest infection and septicaemia, Tia passed away at around 11pm on Friday 9th December, just four weeks after diagnosis.
Tia’s heartbroken mother, Sarah Jane Howlin, had to take the difficult decision to turn off the adrenaline after doctors said there was nothing more they could do to keep her alive after they received the results of a skin biopsy on Friday afternoon.
Ms Howlin said: “I didn’t want her to go through anything else. Her body couldn’t put up with anymore. She was a fantastic kid.”
Childhood Cancer is not a joke, and it can happen to anyone!
If you are a parent, please make sure that you are aware of the Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer – it could save your child’s life!
Source: Little Fighters Cancer Trust | Author: LFCT