Ashley Cain and Safiyya discuss early signs of leukaemia
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Bailey Kilbane, who developed strange bruises that lasted weeks alongside flu-like symptoms, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Now aged 16 months, he is currently undergoing treatment for lymphoblastic leukaemia – a cancer that starts in white blood cells found in bone marrow. Now his mum is urging parents to “press” for testing if they spot any signs of the disease.
Bailey’s mum Beth Reilly, 23, became concerned he started developing strange bruises and flu-like symptoms last October.
She says the tot was “so happy and smiley” GPs and hospital doctors said there was nothing wrong with him six times.
Doctors even asked the doting mum-of-one if she was abusing her son, she claims. But a blood test eventually confirmed Bailey was suffering from leukaemia.
The mum says that she hopes her experience will encourage people to press doctors for tests.
Beth, from Wallasey, Merseyside, said: “People always just say that you know when your child is not right, and just at that moment that week I felt that.
“He was smiling, but I could just tell that there was something not right – you’d just look at him and he would look right through you back.
“If you’re worried, you need to press them to get tests done. I still often think back to the experience and it was horrible to be questioned about abusing your own child – but I know that they needed to do it.
“It made me feel bad and uncomfortable, but I knew that I had done nothing to harm him – so I’m happy I went through with it.”
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Beth and her partner, Brandon, 23, an electrical engineer, took Bailey to the doctors after he developed bruises on his legs which didn’t heal for more than three weeks.
Doctors first blamed them on him falling over while learning to walk, but Beth’s persistence eventually concerned her GP – who referred her to the local hospital for tests.
Eventually on Bailey’s second check up at Arrowe Park Hospital, doctors agreed to ease her worries by performing a blood test.
Just hours later doctors returned with the “devastating” news Bailey had lymphoblastic leukaemia – a rare form of cancer that affects around 790 people a year in the UK.
Bailey has already had a bone marrow biopsy, three rounds of chemotherapy and is undergoing a spinal lumbar puncture every two weeks.
Beth added: “We’ve all found it tough because he was our first baby, and we were so excited about that.
“All of his young years that he should be spending having fun and being a child, he’s now going to be going through treatment instead.
“There are many effects that the treatment could have on him, he’ll be having heart scans for the rest of his life.”
A Wirral University Teaching Hospital spokesperson said: “While we are unable to comment on individual cases, to ensure patient confidentiality, we can confirm that the trust has safeguarding procedures in place that follow national legislation for both adults and children.
“This ensures the safety of the patients in our care and may mean staff will ask further questions when determining the cause of an illness or injury.
“We recognise that this can be distressing for parents, and so we ensure the utmost respect is given to them where any questions are raised. We hope that parents and carers will understand that it is a necessary and important aspect of our safeguarding responsibilities.”
You can help support Bailey’s recovery at gofund.me/a0fca9b7.
Symptoms of leukaemia can include:
- Skin looking pale or “washed out”
- Losing weight without trying
- Frequent infections
- Having a high temperature, and feeling hot or shivery (fever)
- Night sweats
- Unusual and frequent bleeding, such as bleeding gums or nosebleeds
- Easily bruised skin
- Flat red or purple spots on the skin
- Bone and joint pain
- A feeling of fullness or discomfort in your tummy
- Swollen glands in your neck, armpit or groin that may be sore when you touch them.
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