Five-year-old James Clapham has been through a gruelling 12 months after being diagnosed with cancer. He’s missed out on a lot in a year – including spending vital time with his brother – so Satan’s Little Helper decided to change that.
“My heart stopped beating and I had a panic attack in the middle of the kid’s emergency department.”
Hayley is talking about the moment she “went into shock” after being told that her son James had leukaemia. That was on 19 December, 2021, the day Hayley took James to the hospital because he was experiencing intense pain in his shoulder.
“He couldn’t stop screaming – we initially thought he’d fallen at kindy but doctors in A&E told us he had a septic infection.”
After being referred for blood tests, Hayley was given the bad news.
Good things come
“We had to leave for Starship Hospital the next day and stayed there for three weeks. My husband and I did shifts with James, while the other stayed back in Hamilton with our other son Grayson.”
It’s been a rough year for the whole family but the good news is that, after 10 months, James is showing “really good signs of remission”.
“We’ve been told that doctors are struggling to find leukaemia in his blood, which is amazing news. However, he’ll be in treatment until February 2024.”
After the pain of isolation and missing out on his favourite things for nearly a whole year, James is getting ready to start school and is getting back to normal life.
“He’s taking a chemo tablet every day at home. He’s been the most amazing kid, everything he’s dealt with he’s taken in his stride. I’m amazed by how strong he is.”
A few of his favourite things
To show our recognition for the horrible time he’s had – and to give James something to do when he needs to be inside – Satan’s Little Helper sent him a toy kit containing his favourite things: Pokémon, a toy digger and a remote-controlled monster truck.
“He’s been playing with the monster truck almost every day. It’s funny, his brother likes to ride bikes but James can’t keep up with him, so he’ll race his brother with the truck!
“They also play Pokémon battles together.”
The boys were kept apart for a long time, which they both struggled with. The toys have helped bring them together, says Hayley.
“The isolation was hard on them both, so seeing them come together to play with the Pokémon or truck has been really heart-warming.”
It’s also given Hayley a new way to get James out and about, even when he’s not feeling it.
“We’ve started taking him for walks and letting him drive the truck alongside us, which he loves. It gives him more of a reason to do things he wasn’t doing before but are important for his overall health.”