When Stowmarket mum Nicola Carpenter signed up for baby massage classes she had no idea it would help save her son’s life.
At 12-weeks old Alec seemed to be happy and healthy but during the class Nicola, 37, found a small, blue lump on his leg and seven weeks later the cancer neuroblastoma was diagnosed.
Neuroblastoma is a cancer of nerve cells left behind from a baby’s development in the womb and affects about 100 children a year in the UK.
A scan found the primary tumour in Alec’s chest where it had moved his heart, engulfed his lungs and misplaced his windpipe. He needed major surgery and chemotherapy.
Now Alec, who turns one in January, has had the bravery he showed during treatment recognised with a special Star Award from Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens, in partnership with TK Maxx.
Nicola said: “My husband, Glen, nominated Alec for the award as a surprise.
“Alec definitely deserves it, he’s been so brave and has stayed a happy baby despite all the treatment and pain. We’re so grateful for the research that helped saved his life.”
Nicola says she first raised her concerns about the blue lumps when Alec was 12 weeks old but was told they were not sinister but she persisted and seven weeks later cancer was diagnosed.
Nicola said: “I’d known something wasn’t right but I didn’t think it was going to be cancer.”
Glen said: “Everything seems to be getting back to normal but it’s been a massive strain on all of us. Nicola pushed and pushed to get the correct diagnosis and has dealt with the brunt of Alec’s care.
“We feel relieved that a lot of research has already done on neuroblastoma as it meant treatment has been precise, targeted and swift so we couldn’t be more pleased that our perfect little man is on the road to full recovery.”
TK Maxx is the biggest corporate funder of research into children’s cancers in the UK. The retailer’s support of the Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Awards is part of a wider partnership with the charity, which has raised around £27.1 million since 2004.
To nominate a child, donate or fundraise in support of Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens visit cruk.org/kidsandteens