Leanne Tennant: Summer’s story

In May 2019, Leanne knew something was wrong when four year old Summer suddenly stopped walking. Leanne shares her daughter's story and we find out how Summer is doing now especially as she recently rang the end-of-treatment bell!

“Summer is an amazing little girl who is always singing and dancing. She lights up the room as soon as she enters.

However, in May 2019, Summer had been unwell with a virus, which caused a rash. She also had a few bruises, but these could be explained away as a result of falls. Then she suddenly stopped walking.

We took her to A&E as soon as she refused to walk. We were told it was an irritable hip caused by the virus she had and to bring her back if she still couldn’t walk. When she didn’t improve, we took her back three days later. That was when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

We didn’t expect anything like leukaemia at all, even when we were waiting all day for her blood results, as the hospital didn’t say what they were looking for. It came as a massive shock when we finally received her diagnosis and she was sent straight to Alder Hey for treatment to start.

She began treatment straightaway and spent the first seven to eight weeks in hospital where she was very ill. She was so weak, and we didn’t think we would be bringing her home. Thankfully, she started to improve and was soon back home with the family that adore her.

Summer got through the rest of her treatment with a massive smile and never once complained.

Since finishing treatment, Summer has gone from strength to strength. She has returned back to school, is enjoying her education and absolutely loves the sensory pool they have there. It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago she was a very poorly little girl but now she is completely care-free, happy and always dancing around. When she rang the end-of-treatment bell, we had a massive party just for her. 

If I had advice for other parents of children with leukaemia, it would be to never Google anything but get advice from those who are going through the journey or have come out the other end. Lived experience really helps. It’s also super important to take life one day at a time as for every few steps forwards, there may be one backwards.” 

Summer was born with Down’s syndrome and later was diagnosed with ALL at the age of four in 2019. Leanne, her mother, was also a patient reviewer for our booklet ‘Down’s Syndrome and Leukaemia,’ which she had this to say about it:

“The booklet is great and really makes leukaemia and Down’s syndrome easy to understand. I was so pleased to see the person first introduction as so many health professionals still use the term  “down syndrome person”. I would have liked to have received a booklet like this when my daughter was diagnosed.”

You can download your copy of our Down’s Syndrome and Leukaemia booklet for free here.

Do you know what the six most common signs and symptoms of leukaemia are? They are:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever or night sweats
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Bone/joint pain
  • Repeated infections

Are you currently experiencing any of these signs and symptoms? If so, contact your GP and ask for a blood test.

For more information on our Spot Leukaemia campaign, our goal and how to get involved, head over to our official Spot Leukaemia website at www.spotleukaemia.org.uk

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