A mum has spoken this week of her pride after her seven-year-old son fought back to health from the brink of death.
Little Fletcher Mepham endured more than a year of gruelling treatment after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
But now his relieved family have been told that he is cancer-free.
“Doctors say he is in ongoing complete remission,” said mum Sarah, 39, from, Burgess Hill.
“He’s incredible. We’re all really proud of him. He’s amazing and so brave.”
And now the family can really celebrate as his mum and stepdad Antony get set to tie the knot in the week before Christmas - with Fletcher and his brother Louis, 10, as ring-bearers at the ceremony at Wakehurst Place.
Their original wedding had to be postponed last summer when Fletcher first fell ill.
The family’s ordeal began in August last year after Fletcher complained of tummy pains. “We went backwards and forwards to the docotors and they said it was a virus,” said Sarah.
But after Fletcher ended up crying in pain after going to a friend’s party ‘I just knew something wasn’t right’, said mum Sarah.
She rushed him to the accident and emergency unit in Haywards Heath from where he was transferred to Brighton.
“His blood count was so low the doctors said immediately it must be some kind of cancer.”
Scans revealed he was suffering from the childhood cancer neuroblastoma and Fletcher was sent to the specialist Royal Marsden Hospital in London and from there to St George’s Hospital in Tooting.
It was the start of a year-long nightmare for Fletcher’s shocked family but they had no time to dwell on their fears.
A series of tests revealed that Fletcher’s cancer was the worst it could be - at ‘stage four’ having spread around his little body.
He underwent intensive treatment including numerous courses of chemotherapy and a 12-hour operation to remove a tumour from his stomach.
The doctors removed all of the tumour but Fletcher suffered side effects from the chemo which affected his liver and he ended up in intensive care.
“It was awful,” said Sarah. “His whole body swelled and he was close to death ... but he got through it.”
That battle was followed by radiotherapy treatment every day for three weeks and Fletcher even had to spend his seventh birthday - on April 16 - in his hospital bed.
A further six months of painful treatment followed to stop the cancer coming back. He had an end-of-treatment scan last month which showed no signs of the disease.
“It’s been horrendous,” said Sarah. “You would never want to see anyone in that pain.” And she paid tribute to family, friends and Fletcher’s school for supporting them through their ordeal.
But now things are looking up and already Fletcher has had some welcoming cheer - he got to mingle with royalty at a premier of the film Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer’s Llamas in London.
“Prince William sat next to Fletcher and had a chat with him,” said Sarah.
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