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A mum has begged parents to “trust their instincts” after her young son was diagnosed with a pulled muscle that turned out to be cancer.
Four-year-old Huey Stairs is now fighting for his life and facing 18 months of “hellish” treatment for the disease, which is at stage four.
Doctors failed to spot warning signs of the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma until mum Rachel finally refused to leave a hospital until tests were carried out.
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The 36-year-old “had a gut feeling” that something was seriously wrong with Huey when he complained of pain, started walking differently and became sluggish.
She said: “They were only little things, but they persistently became worse. I went to the doctor a couple of times but was told he had probably pulled a muscle.
“On one occasion I went to hospital and asked them to look at him but they told me the same.
“But I insisted something wasn’t right and refused to leave.
“I was in ‘mum mode’. I had a gut feeling, and it is the one time I wanted to be wrong. Further tests were then done and it was clear they suddenly saw the problem.”
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Neuroblastoma is especially hard to treat because of its unpredictability. Doctors believe Huey’s cancer started in his kidney. Since being spotted it has spread to his lymph nodes and bones.
Rachel said: “Once diagnosed everything has moved quickly and we are now under the care of Southampton Hospital, who have been nothing short of amazing. But Huey is considered stage 4.
“We have been warned it is at least 18 months of pretty much constant treatment which will most likely make Huey feel very poorly.
“I would say to all parents, if you think something isn’t right, push it. Push it with everything you have,
because I could have walked away thinking he had a pulled muscle.”
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Rachel stays with Huey at all times while dad Ben commutes the 60-mile round trip daily, after seeing to their other children, to see his son.
A gofundme page has been set up to raise money to help the family, from Bognor Regis, cope.
To donate visit gofundme.com/f/hueys-cancer-journey.
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- Daily Star Sunday
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