Daisy was like any other ordinary six-year-old girl until August last year when her family were hit with the bombshell that she had cancer.
She had been complaining about a sore lump in her neck and had a temperature, which was put down to an inflamed lymph node. But when the lump didn’t subside and a subsequent course of antibiotics appeared not to work Daisy’s GP became concerned.
Katie remembers: “Our GP called me to ask how Daisy was doing which I thought was odd. It is unusual for a doctor to call out of the blue. But he had obviously been thinking about it and had a suspicion that it was more serious than a swollen gland.”
A series of hospital blood tests, an ultrasound and a chest X-Ray revealed their worst fears. Daisy had Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, which showed a huge mass in her chest, although fortunately it had not reached her spinal fluid or bone marrow.
Katie said: “Obviously at that point your head is just in a whirlwind. You’re thrown into a world of hospital tests and talk of treatment and chemotherapy. But I hung onto their words that we had caught it early. This was something positive that we had to cling to.”
Momentum came into the family’s life shortly after Daisy was admitted to St George’s Hospital. Katie said it was the lifeline they so desperately needed.
“Bianca called me and we chatted about how we were doing and what Momentum could do to help us through this awful journey that we had to go through.”
It was the beautiful refurbishments in the Paediatric Unit at Kingston Hospital that first caught Katie’s eye. The colourful, brightly-coloured walls made the rooms more homely for Daisy’s long stays in hospital and the Momentum ‘treat’ cupboard in the Parents’ Room brought comfort during particularly tough times.
Katie said: “Momentum have this little cupboard full of goodies – biscuits and snacks for Daisy and like little bottles of wine for the parents! I was given a key and told we could go into the cupboard any time we liked. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gesture.”
During a particularly low point at Christmas one of Momentum’s Fairy Friends ‘Fairy Holly’ visited Daisy and her big sister Poppy at home.
Katie said: “Daisy was so fed up and the moment Fairy Holly walked in her entire face changed. She was absolutely enchanted by her.”
Momentum also arranged six weeks of music therapy for Daisy, which Katie said was the best therapy they could have asked for.
“We didn’t know what to expect from the sessions and Daisy was very apprehensive but Poppy spotted the African drums and started drumming away and then we all started singing along to a Frozen song at the top of our voices, and Daisy started dancing. I can only describe the session as one hour of pure joy. It was a release for us all, of all the tension build-up from the past few months. We laughed and laughed and had so much fun.”
At Easter the family took a short holiday to one of Momentum’s holiday homes in the New Forest, which was the respite break they so desperately needed.
“It was perfect timing. Daisy was on a high dose of steroids and was very low and moody. Going away to the holiday home and having a change of scenery, made what could have been a horrendous week at home, bearable. There were so many home comforts, my mum and dad came down, and we had such a lovely time.”
Since then the family have also enjoyed a trip on the charity’s canal boat ‘Moments on the River’ including a picnic lunch by the river.
Katie said: “It’s hard to put into words how much Momentum has supported us over the past year. It has been quite incredible and we are so grateful for everything the charity has done for us.”
Daisy is now 9 months into her 2 and a half year treatment plan but is feeling well enough to return to school part-time, which she loves. And mum is also looking to get back to work.
Momentum continues to support the family and will do so for as long as they need us.