'I thought my boy had an infection - then was given news no parent should hear'

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Hugo Stafford had to visit the hospital for weekly blood work before finally being diagnosed (Image: Breeze Rowan)
Hugo Stafford had to visit the hospital for weekly blood work before finally being diagnosed (Image: Breeze Rowan)

A toddler began suffering with fatigue and a high temperature leaving his mum thinking he had a viral infection - but it was much worse.

Breeze Rowan, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, took three-year-old Hugo Stafford to hospital for tests revealing his blood count was critically low, meaning his risk of catching infection was increased.

The tot was transferred to Manchester Royal Children's Hospital where he was given antibiotics. Tests were undertaken on his bone marrow, however doctors could not pinpoint what was wrong.

Hugo's temperature eventually stabilised and he was allowed to go home - though continued to return for weekly blood work. Over time, his blood count doubled and his condition improved.

'I thought my boy had an infection - then was given news no parent should hear' rriddqixxiqezinvHugo with mum Breeze and dad Alex (Breeze Rowan)

But on July 3 - three months after originally falling ill - his temperature suddenly spiked. Mum Breeze, 21, rushed him to A&E where tests showed his white blood cells were very low again.

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He was given antibiotics and discharged, though medics had another look at his bone marrow and days later called the family to discuss the results. Hugo had leukaemia.

Nursery worker Breeze can barely remember the moments that followed. She told the Manchester Evening News: “No parent should have to hear this. When I did, I completely zoned out. I couldn’t even respond to the doctors.

“Then I had to ring Hugo’s dad Alex who was at work and tell him the news. This was just the worst – telling people my boy has cancer is just something I never thought I’d be doing. But he’s strong. He’s a fighter and he’s got this.”

Shortly before Hugo’s diagnosis, Breeze also suddenly became unwell herself when she started suffering from a fever in June. The young mum, who is heavily pregnant with a baby boy and expected to give birth next week, couldn’t stop shaking and feeling hot then cold.

'I thought my boy had an infection - then was given news no parent should hear'Hugo was eventually diagnosed with leukemia (Breeze Rowan)
'I thought my boy had an infection - then was given news no parent should hear'Breeze assumed Hugo had a viral infection (Breeze Rowan)

She was rushed to the intensive care unit where it was discovered she had sepsis, a body’s life-threatening response to infection. It can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. Incredibly, after eight days in hospital, Breeze made a miraculous recovery and her unborn baby was left unharmed.

“Life’s been a rollercoaster this year,” she added. “But me, Hugo and his dad have just pulled through and we’ve fought every battle that’s come at us. I’m due to have my baby boy next week and even though life’s been stressful, I’m just so grateful for my boys. I can’t wait to see them grow together and for Hugo’s little brother to be here to support him.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy in the slightest, but having a positive mindset will get us through it. Every day we have to get up and show up for our boy.” Hugo now has to have steroid injections daily and weekly chemotherapy treatment.

'I thought my boy had an infection - then was given news no parent should hear'Breeze was also struck down with sepsis in June (Breeze Rowan)
'I thought my boy had an infection - then was given news no parent should hear'Hugo with dad Alex (Breeze Rowan)

“I don’t know how I’ve gone on through the last few months while being heavily pregnant and so on,” Breeze added. “I’ve shocked myself, but then I look at Hugo and all he’s been through/going through. How can you not get through it when a three-year-old has to go through so much daily? It’s impossible not to deal with this.”

A Gofundme appeal has now been set up to help the family through this difficult time. To donate, click here.

Paige Oldfield

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