Naomi was devastated when Carey was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukaemia (JMML) at just nine months old in 2021, after suffering from cold-like symptoms which led to him struggling to breathe.
The rare blood cancer affects one to two children out of a million and meant Carey was transferred from The Alex to Great Ormond Street Hospital for diagnostic testing before the diagnosis was confirmed.
He returned to the care of The Alex, under the oncology team, for multiple blood transfusions, drug treatments and chemotherapy. On the rare days Carey wasn’t at the hospital, the Community Nursing Team were able to come to his home for blood tests, allowing the family some respite from the ward environment.
Three months after his diagnosis, Carey underwent a bone marrow transplant thanks to his sister Aubrey being a 100% match.
Naomi said: “Nothing prepares you for hearing the words oncology and cancer, and it’s incredibly difficult to even begin to make sense of it, but the medical team worked so seamlessly. They effortlessly coordinated all of Carey’s treatments and appointments without me having to do or chase anything.
“They were the biggest support network during the hardest time. I knew Carey was getting the treatment that he needed, and it felt like a safe space. They are the reason my son is still alive. How can you ever thank anyone enough?”
Carey’s Friends research fund
Carey is now in remission and has started nursery and Naomi has returned to work, but the limited research into JMML inspired her to set up Carey’s Friends to help raise awareness of the cancer, and improve treatment knowledge and understanding when some children relapse.
The fund has so far raised almost £40,000 through a number of donations and fundraisers by friends, family and members of the public who want to support the cause and raise awareness. Head of Audiology at The Alex also supported the fund by completing the Brighton 10k run.
Naomi added: “Children’s cancer research is so poorly funded. Surely children deserve a future and they definitely deserve more than 3% of cancer funding.
“There are so many cancer charities for children, the support you get is incredible – as you would hope – but JMML is so incredibly rare.
“If we can help contribute to research, and if another family can benefit from research that we’ve funded in the years ahead, then that would mean so much.”
To find out more information and to donate, please visit Carey’s Friends website.