On the 8th of January 2019, Gerard McCarthy was told the devastating news that his 6-year-old son Patrick had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Two weeks later whilst Patrick was in hospital having started his intensive treatment, Gerard’s dad became very ill and died the next day. Here Gerard talks about this extremely difficult time and how, with the help of Momentum, his family are continuing to move forward.
“Patrick has always been a very active and sporty boy. Towards the very end of December 2018 he just didn't seem himself and by the 5th of January we found ourselves at St George’s A&E where it became clear that something was seriously wrong. Patrick was admitted to their isolation ward and after further tests, days of waiting and a blood transfusion we were told the devastating news that he had ALL. Patrick began his intensive treatment immediately.”
The McCarthy family were still reeling from this extremely difficult news when two weeks later Gerard’s dad became very ill and died in the early hours on the 16th January, whilst Patrick was in hospital having treatment “the first couple of weeks of Patrick's treatment were very hard to take in and dad's death added to this. My wife Jeeraphon spent almost the whole time at St George's, I would relieve her for a couple of hours in the afternoon so she could go home for a shower and change of clothes. Our daughter Jessica was 4 at the time and she needed our attention too.”
“It was at this time and soon into Patrick’s treatment we had a visit from Niki, a Family Support Worker from Momentum Children’s Charity. Niki was amazing for us. It’s hard to describe what was going on at that period - we were in a state – but she was very comforting for us and has helped us enormously, as have Momentum along our journey keeping in touch with us, being there on the ward at St George’s helping Patrick and doing home visits to see us all too”
More recently Momentum have been able to support the family by providing Patrick with online maths tutoring through their educational support service.
“Patrick has missed so much school during his treatment, so this tutoring couldn’t have come at a better time. He’s been having daily maths lessons, which he’s absolutely loved and we’ve seen such a big improvement since he started”
“Momentum have really just been there for us at the right time, when you feel like there’s nobody to help, nobody to support, they’re there – they’re behind us all the way.”