A mother and her son from the United Kingdom who have been battling cancer together for years have finally been given an all clear by doctors.
In autumn 2016, Vici Rigby, 40, was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer. Upon learning of the devastating news, the mom of two boys was shocked. Although she suffered from bowel problems for several years, Vici thought that it was the result of being tired and her pregnancies.
“When the doctors sat me down and said to me, ‘You have cancer’, I didn’t actually cry or get emotional. I just went into shock—pure shock,” Vici said, according to The Sun. “I thought it was anything but cancer.”
After the diagnosis, in the following months, Vici underwent many rounds of chemotherapy, surgery on her liver and bowel, and radiotherapy.
However, as Vici was undergoing her treatment, her husband, Jamie, started noticing something was amiss with their then-4-year-old son, George. The young boy was sleeping too much and looked pale.
The family then took George to the GP, who further suggested they get some blood tests done at the hospital. Not long after, George was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia—a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects white blood cells—just five months after Vici’s diagnosis. It was hard for the family to receive such devastating news.
“I thought it was the worst news ever when I had cancer,” an emotional Vici said. “But actually the worst was yet to come and hearing my baby had the disease was so much worse.”
They immediately started to give him chemotherapy treatment at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Though it was hard on the family to deal with two of their near and dear ones battling cancer at the same time, the couple tried their best to give George a normal childhood and let him do “everything his peers have done,” Vici said, according to a press release by Worcestershire Acute Hospital. Some of those activities included swimming and playing football.
Vici added that George “is doing really well at school, he’s very active and bright and he hasn’t once complained about his situation.”
Finally, after three and a half years of treatment at the hospital, George, now 8, was given an all clear and rang the end-of-treatment bell in March 2020 to celebrate his remission.
“It feels quite surreal when you are given that first diagnosis and know you’re looking at three years of treatment you never think the day is going to come,” Vici, who received an all clear from her doctors a few months earlier, said.
“You get into the routine of hospital appointments and planning your lives around that. Then, all of a sudden, we can now make plans [..] and arrange things without the worry,” she further added.
Vici also expressed gratitude to the staff at Worcestershire Royal Hospital for caring for them and helping the family through their darkest days.
In summer 2019, when the family moved from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire to Tenby in southwest Wales, the couple chose to let George continue his treatment at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital instead of moving to a hospital in Cardiff.
So the resilient parents would make a 350-mile round trip every month, which took nearly seven hours, for George’s chemotherapy.
Alluding to the care from the hospital staff, Vici said: “The advice from the team there has been invaluable and all the whole incredible team who’ve helped to look after George have become like a second family to us.”
As for the hospital staff, they couldn’t be more pleased to see the mom-son duo completing their treatment together.
“They have both been through so much, but it’s lovely to see such a positive ending to such an awful time,” said Bernice Kent, the clinical nurse specialist who cared for Vici.