Parents’ delight as youngster gets cancer all-clear

Harry Howard, three, with parents Damon and Helen
Harry Howard, three, with parents Damon and Helen

A mum whose son’s cancer was misdiagnosed THREE times feels her little boy “has been born again” after he was given the all-clear.

Harry Howard underwent seven months of gruelling treatment after doctors eventually found tumours in his skull, bones, bone marrow and his central nervous system.

He can play out again - he’s not been able to do that for months. I almost feel like he’s been born again

Helen Howard

But now mum Helen says her boy is getting back to his mischievous old self after his final MRI scan last week revealed he was cancer-free.

“It was just a relief,” she admitted.

“It feels like a weight has been lifted and we can live again.”

The 30-year-old from Ashton added: “He’s gone through hell and back.”

Brave Harry’s agonising road to recovery included 122 nights in hospital, seven rounds of intense chemotherapy, 25 chemotherapy drug infusions, 36 blood and platelet transfusions, eight surgeries, 14 lumbar punctures, 20 general anaesthetics and countless blood draws, scans and tests.

His nightmare began last November when Helen and husband Damon noticed all was not well with their little son.

Helen said: “He wasn’t the boy we knew.

“He had night sweats, a high temperature and the pain in his knees was stopping him from walking.”

After three shocking misdiagnoses of “growing pains” by medical staff in Wigan, Helen took Harry to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for a second opinion.

Doctors conducted several tests and discovered that Harry was riddled from head to toe with tumours.

“It all feels like a blur - these last seven months - like I was hit by a bus,” Helen said.

She described the daunting thoughts that crossed her mind during Harry’s long battle with cancer.

“The six-week build up from his last chemo to his last MRI scan is a feeling I can’t describe.

“I felt sick for some reason, and I realised it was because you’re living with this fear of not knowing whether your child is going to be alright.”

But now, as Helen described, Harry is starting a new chapter in his life.

“I have my little boy again,” she said.

“He can play out again - he’s not been able to do that for months. I almost feel like he’s been born again.”

She added: “Everything he does, it’s like he’s doing it for the first time again. I feel blessed and I cherish every second chance.

“He drew on the wall the other day, and my heart fluttered because I’ve been dreaming of him doing naughty things for months.

“I’ve missed him being a mischievous little boy, it feels incredible. Whenever he screams, cries or throws a tantrum, I want him to because now it feels fantastic.”

Helen and Damon are now taking up several fund-raising activities to raise money for Alder Hey and cancer charities.

“We will never forget that ward, or the other families who are now going through what we went through,” Helen stated.