Freddy Wetherley’s parents are describing their son as “our little miracle.” It’s an accolade that the 5-year-old boy deserves.
Little Freddy is about to start school for the first time and is even playing FOOTBALL again! 💪❤️
Doctors told Freddy’s heartbroken parents, Alice Phillips, 25, and Ricky Wetherley, 27, that the disease had ravaged Freddy’s tiny body “from his nose to his knees.” The family was terrified that their boy wouldn’t pull through.
Phillips, a former nursery nurse, told the Daily Mail. “He had been such a healthy toddler,” she recalled, “and was hardly ever ill. Then he started to complain that his legs were hurting.”
The healthy boy’s parents didn’t think much of their son’s symptoms at first, assuming he had a minor sickness that would pass. “We never imagined that it could be anything as serious as cancer,” they said.
After Freddy started refusing fairground rides, complaining that his legs were still painful, his parents became seriously concerned. “We took him to the doctors,” Phillips said, “and then to hospital.” It was in the nick of time.
At the family’s local emergency unit, a scan revealed the awful news. Freddy was riddled with tumors; the biggest and most worrying was in his stomach. Freddy was immediately referred to London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
After more tests, Freddy’s diagnosis was confirmed: neuroblastoma. “We could see the cancer all over his body,” Phillips shared. “It just seemed impossible that he would survive.”
Neuroblastoma, according to Mayo Clinic, is cancer most commonly affecting children under the age of five and develops from immature nerve cells found in several areas of the body. It’s rare; only around 800 children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma in the United States, and 100 in the United Kingdom, each year.
“When they told us what Freddy had it was devastating,” his mom recalled. “We couldn’t believe it.” The stoic 5-year-old endured 70 days of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant at Christmastime, and surgery to remove the tumor in February of 2019.
During his treatment, the selfless patient and his parents found the energy to raise 851 pounds (approx. US$1,052) for the Children’s Cancer and Leukemia Group. Phillips posted a photo of the grand total on Facebook, and the family supported one another every step of the way.
In May of 2019, the family’s bravery and determination paid off; little Freddy was finally declared cancer-free. Freddy even started school for the first time in September.
“He has done wonderfully well,” Freddy’s mom shared, “and made an amazing recovery. We are very proud of him.”
“He was sick and exhausted through the treatment,” Phillips continued, “but he has handled everything really well. He spent a lot of time on Facetime to his sister Freya, who is two,” she added, “and that really helped him.”
“He really looked forward to talking to her every day,” she further added.
Phillips even shared that Freddy has resumed his old love of soccer; he can regularly be seen kicking a soccer ball around in the family’s backyard. “He’s looking forward to starting school next week,” Phillips shared, speaking at the very beginning of September, “and we can’t believe what an achievement that is.”
The family shared a triumphant photo of their healthy son dressed in his brand-new school uniform, striding purposefully toward Little Thurrock Primary School. The next phase of Freddy’s young life has begun.