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Two-year-old boy's cancer diagnosis inspires Sudbury mother's plea for people to seek early medical help during coronavirus lockdown




A mother-of-four from Sudbury has urged people not to be deterred from booking GP appointments during the current crisis, after her two-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer.

Sudbury town councillor Louise Fowler has praised the NHS for its care of her youngest child Devin, who has undergone two operations and started chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma – a rare form of cancer that forms in soft tissue.

Louise explained she had initially hesitated to contact her local surgery after initially detecting symptoms, because of the situation with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Sudbury town councillor Louise Fowler has praised the NHS for its care of her youngest child Devin, who has undergone two operations and started chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma. Contributed picture. (35904886)
Sudbury town councillor Louise Fowler has praised the NHS for its care of her youngest child Devin, who has undergone two operations and started chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma. Contributed picture. (35904886)

After contacting Sudbury Health Centre, she received an urgent appointment with West Suffolk Hospital, followed by a referral to Addenbrooke’s Hospital the next day.

Louise, who also founded the Sudbury Community Network, told the Free Press she now wants to spread awareness about the importance of early diagnoses.

The West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group estimated that cancer referrals had dropped by 50 per cent since the lockdown began.

Sudbury town councillor Louise Fowler has praised the NHS for its care of her youngest child Devin, who has undergone two operations and started chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma. Contributed picture. (35904924)
Sudbury town councillor Louise Fowler has praised the NHS for its care of her youngest child Devin, who has undergone two operations and started chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma. Contributed picture. (35904924)

“We have to stay strong as a family as his treatment will take months,” Louise said. “We have already been shown a great deal of kindness by some in the community, including from those we didn’t know previously.

“I am so glad that I made that call to the local health centre when I did. I was very hesitant due to the pandemic and thought the surgery would also be overwhelmed with calls, so I waited to see if the symptoms would ease at all. I would really urge people to seek medical help if they are concerned.

“The NHS staff have all been amazing throughout and I have felt that every care has been taken to avoid any unnecessary risks.

Sudbury town councillor Louise Fowler has praised the NHS for its care of her youngest child Devin, who has undergone two operations and started chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma. Contributed picture. (35904888)
Sudbury town councillor Louise Fowler has praised the NHS for its care of her youngest child Devin, who has undergone two operations and started chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma. Contributed picture. (35904888)

“We have been fortunate that it appears so far that Devin’s cancer has not spread to other areas of his body. If I had hesitated any longer over making that initial call, it may well have been a different story entirely.”

Louise has also applauded the support of the Sudbury Community Network, which has provided meal deliveries, donations, Paw Patrol pouches made for Devin, and moral support, over the last month.

The family has also launched an online fundraising appeal, which has received more than £800, and can be viewed at www.gofundme.com/f/support-brave-2-year-old-devin039shealing-journey.

Sudbury town councillor Louise Fowler has praised the NHS for its care of her youngest child Devin, who has undergone two operations and started chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma. Contributed picture. (35904939)
Sudbury town councillor Louise Fowler has praised the NHS for its care of her youngest child Devin, who has undergone two operations and started chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma. Contributed picture. (35904939)
Sudbury town councillor Louise Fowler has praised the NHS for its care of her youngest child Devin, who has undergone two operations and started chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma. Contributed picture. (35904931)
Sudbury town councillor Louise Fowler has praised the NHS for its care of her youngest child Devin, who has undergone two operations and started chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma. Contributed picture. (35904931)

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