Sunday, 5 Feb 2023

Girl, 4, with cough and high temperature given devastating diagnosis

Gary Lineker discusses son’s leukaemia battle

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Young Kyra started experiencing a cough, a high temperature, and trouble eating towards the end of December.

Originally her parents thought it was the flu, however, after she woke up complaining of a sore back, Kirsten and Josiah decided to take her to hospital to be checked.

Initially assessed on January 2, Kyra was immediately rushed to hospital as her oxygen saturation levels plummeted dramatically.

Soon Kyra was cannulated and blood tests were taken.

Kirsten told the Manchester Evening News: “We just wanted them to do whatever they could. They had been taking blood samples and doing lots of tests to find out what the infection was and what was wrong with her.”

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After a series of tests, the doctors told the parents that Kyra could have a rare form of leukaemia known as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Kirsten said: “We couldn’t believe it. There was just no way,

“There were loads of different illnesses going round, especially with children catching Scarlet Fever and lots of people catching the flu. Even the possibility of it being that was devastating.”

Speaking about the build-up to the trip to hospital Kirsten said: “She had a high temperature that we had tried to get on top off with medicine. We had a normal Christmas and New Year and a big family party. Everything was fine. We didn’t realise how serious it was and just thought it was a chest infection or flu.

“A couple of days after she started saying she didn’t feel very well and had a temperature, but there were so many bugs going around over winter, and she was still eating.”

Kirsten added: “On January 2 she just took a strong dive and got very upset, saying her legs and back were hurting. We couldn’t get on top of her temperature and knew something wasn’t quite right, so agreed to take her to hospital, and she just declined really quickly.

“We couldn’t ever have predicted this – it took us by surprise, especially because of how she had been a couple of days earlier, laughing and smiling. It’s broken us.”

The diagnosis puts an increased strain on a family already facing a mountain of existing pressures.

Kirsten is due to have her seventh child soon and give birth within weeks. She says her daughter is “really confused” and “wanting to go back home”.

Doctors say Kyra could have developed the cancer a matter of weeks ago, but has now started chemotherapy treatment, and had a bone marrow transplant.

What is acute lymphoblastic leukaemia?

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALK) is a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells. The NHS says: “It progresses quickly and aggressively and requires immediate treatment. Both adults and children can be affected.

“Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is rare, with around 790 people diagnosed with the condition each year in the UK. Most cases of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia develop in children, teenagers and young adults.”

They added: “Although it is rare, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is the most common type of leukaemia that affects children. About 85% of the cases that affect children happen in those younger than 15 (mostly between the ages of 0 and 5). It affects slightly more boys than girls.”

The NHS say the condition can be caused by a range of factors.

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