A four-year-old girl has finally rung the end of treatment bell after beating cancer following a gruelling two years of treatment.
Daisy Byles, from Lowestoft in Suffolk, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in June 2019 after doctors mistakenly thought she was suffering from a cold.
She was rushed into hospital after her mother Shari Mckay found her unconscious in the morning and received the devastating diagnosis just a few hours later.
Since her diagnosis, Daisy has spent most of her time at Norwich University Hospital, where she lost her hair and developed 16 infections in response to chemotherapy and blood transfusions.
But she received the all clear earlier this month and heartwarming footage captured her ringing the hospital’s bell to mark the end of her journey.
Ms Mckay, 36, said it has been ‘a traumatising time for the whole family’, but Daisy is ‘such an inspiration’ and has ‘the most beautiful personality.’
Four-year-old Daisy Byles, from Lowestoft in Suffolk, rang the bell at Norwich University Hospital on September 14 after beating cancer
She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in June 2019 after doctors mistakenly thought she was suffering from a cold. She has spent most of the last two years in hospital receiving chemotherapy, steroid medication, as well as platelet and blood transfusions
Daisy’s mother Shari Mckay, 36, said it has been ‘a traumatising time for the whole family’, but Daisy is ‘such an inspiration’ and has ‘the most beautiful personality’
Daisy became unwell after receiving jabs as a two-year-old but doctors were ‘convinced she had caught a cold following that and it was nothing to worry about’, her mother said.
Single mother Ms Mckay, who gave up her job as a cleaner to care for Daisy, said: ‘One day I woke up and she had turned white and wasn’t moving so I rushed her into hospital and that’s when I was told it was cancer. It took me a few hours to process.’
Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia affects white blood cells.
Around 800 people in the UK are diagnosed with the cancer every year, which progresses quickly and aggressively and requires immediate treatment.
WHAT IS ACUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC LEUKAEMIA?
Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is a type of blood cancer that starts from young white blood cells in the bone marrow.
There are around 790 new cases in the UK every year. In the US, ALL affects approximately 1.7 adults per 100,000.
Anyone can develop ALL, however, it mainly affects younger people.
Many ALL symptoms are vague and flu-like, such as general weakness, fatigue, fever, frequent infections and bone or joint pain.
Medics do not yet know what causes cells to mutate and cause cancer, but risk factors include previous chemotherapy, smoking, being very overweight, genetic disorders such as Down’s syndrome and having a weakened immune system.
Research suggests being breastfed and exposed to childhood infections may reduce a person’s risk.
The main ALL treatment is chemotherapy. Patients may also have radiotherapy, steroids or bone marrow transplants.
Around 70 per cent of people will survive for five years or more after being diagnosed with ALL.
Both adults and children can be affected, but the vast majority of cases are among under-fives.
After being diagnosed in June 2019, Daisy spent the majority of her time over the next two years at the Norwich University Hospital receiving treatment.
Her mother said: ‘At the time, we didn’t have money for clothes or for food and I’m a single mum-of-seven so I had to leave my children at home to look after each other while I was in the hospital with Daisy.
‘It was a traumatising time for all of us because they didn’t know if I was going to come home with their sister or not’.
Daisy received chemotherapy, steroid medication, as well as platelet and blood transfusions.
All of her hair fell out within two weeks and she was so unwell that she developed nine fungal infections, two line infections, sepsis twice, pneumonia twice.
Ms Mckay said: ‘I stayed with her every second of the day and had a bed right next to her.
‘Whenever we would come home, I would be straight back in the hospital if she got a temperature or seemed off.’
And just before she rang the bell, Daisy ‘nearly died again’ because she developed another infection. It is not clear what this infection was.
But she finished her treatment on August 21 and was able to ring the bell on September 14, which her mother said was ‘the most incredible moment’.
Ms Mckay added: ‘It has been a traumatising time for the whole family but she’s such an inspiration and her hair has grown back thicker, curlier and wavier and she has the most beautiful personality.
‘After she rang the bell, I got a little party together with her friends and family and we all celebrated the end of the most difficult time in our lives.
‘I cried straight after she rung the bell – we formed such a close bond with all the staff and it’s like a little family in there.
‘I was so blessed to have the NHS on our side and I will never take life for granted again.’