James Saunders – Father of Frankie Saunders

Frankie was just a year old when he was diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia. Now in remission, Frankie’s parents share how their son’s symptoms were often mistaken for other illnesses.

Frankie had just turned one when his symptoms first started. On an almost weekly basis, he was having very high temperatures, cold, coughs and when he would just get over one bug another one would start days after. He was also very tired, sleeping an awful lot and appearing to have no energy at all. Frankie also had what looked like pin prick rashes all over his arms, which slowly spread to his ears and then legs, which eventually turned purple. We would take him to our doctors which they would tell us it was just a viral rash.

Because Frankie was so young, we were frequently in and out of the GP surgery when he had high temperatures. It was only after three months when they mistook one of his rashes for a meningitis rash that they sent us up to the hospital via ambulance for further tests. Previously, we had kept getting told it was just a virus and the rash and other symptoms were a side effect of this.

Fortunately for us and Frankie, some blood tests were done. On the 23rd December 2016 we got a call asking us to bring Frankie to the hospital as they needed to discuss the blood results. This is when we found out they thought he had leukaemia. Days later he was admitted to GOSH for further tests to diagnose the exact type: juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia (JMML).

Frankie underwent two rounds of intense chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant and has recently reached one-year post-transplant without relapse.

We’re supporting the Spot Leukaemia campaign because we feel if more people were aware of the symptoms they can avoid the months of worry that we went through. It was only after we entered the world of leukaemia that we realised Frankie’s symptoms were classic signs.


Our Spot Leukaemia Campaign

Find out more about how we are raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of leukaemia this Blood Cancer Awareness Month.

Find out more