As a parent we never expect anything to happen to our children. Just as all young families do, we looked forward to the birth of our little boy and couldn’t wait to bring him home. We had been settling into family life perfectly; going back to work from maternity leave and getting in to a routine.

On the 23rd July 2017, our lives changed forever. We noticed a visible lump in Finley’s abdomen, at only nine months old. Being the kind of parents that just shrug everything off we thought maybe he’s bloated or maybe it’s 'just a hernia'. But maybe we should take him to the doctors and just check that everything’s okay... When we got to the doctors they examined him and in their words had no idea what it was; again they agreed it could be a hernia.

Luckily he didn’t just fob us off that day and sent us to the nearest Children’s Assessment Unit at the hospital. They did an ultrasound scan and said there is a 'mass' in his liver; that’s all we knew. We were then sent to another hospital the following day for an MRI. From there he he had an MRI, a CT scan, liver biopsy and a central line put in; the next two weeks flew by in what felt like minutes!

On the 3rd of August 2017 we received an official diagnosis of hepatoblastoma.

Hepatoblastoma is a very rare liver cancer which occurs in children under five years old. The chances of getting it are less than one in a million and there are only eight cases diagnosed in the UK each year...  unfortunately we are one of those eight.

So far Finley has received five rounds of chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumour and he is currently having surgery to remove it, along with two thirds of his liver and his gallbladder. He has more chemo and things to come but I can’t wait till that tumour is GONE!

No parent can imagine what it’s like to go through this kind of diagnosis until it’s you... it’s more than just the hospital stays, the endless medicines and the chemotherapy. It’s all the appointments, scans, blood tests, the bills piling up because all your money goes in your petrol tank, the endless loads of washing from the sickness side effects of the chemo. For us to receive any amount of help from a charity, whether it be support or financial help, to us this is a huge help.

Without My Shining Star and many other charities our position would be so different to what it is now. The help they provide enables us to focus on Finley and his road to recovery rather then spending everyday worrying about whether we’ll have a roof over our heads or whether we’ll be able to afford shopping this week.

For My Shining Star Children’s Cancer Charity and the help they have provided us we will be forever grateful; Anita is an amazing lady who we appreciate so much. Thank you My Shining Star.

Beautiful little hero Finley (before and since diagnosis). We really hope the surgery goes well for Finley and he's always in our thoughts xxx

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