Joseph' s Story

Who Is Joepsh?

Joseph is the kindest, funniest and most loving boy. He absolutely loves the Hulk,
Batman and all the superheroes, he also loves Blippi and has collected all of the blippi toys!
He loves animals and helping his Grandad to feed the sheep. When you meet Joseph, you can’t
help but fall in love with his beautiful smile and infectious character.Joseph has just turned
three and has spent months in hospital undergoing treatment for stage 4 high-risk
neuroblastoma, a rare aggressive childhood cancer that has a 40-50% chance of long-term
survival at diagnosis. Joseph’s family are fundraising for further treatment, either to get
their son into remission or to try and keep the cancer away if his frontline treatment does go to plan.
This could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Christmas Day 2020 and 2-year-old Joseph woke up full of excitement and energy to see what Santa Claus had brought him. He bounced down the stairs, laughing in delight as he ripped open his Christmas gifts and later that day ran around the garden playing with his new ride on truck. He was a healthy, energetic two-year-old boy with absolutely no sign of illness. However, not long after Christmas Joseph began to refuse his meals and shortly after his 3rd birthday in February, his energy levels dropped. We had concerns about him, but honestly thought that it was a habit picked up due to the lockdown. Was he snacking more because he was home all day, therefore stopping him from eating dinner? Were his energy levels lower because he had been stuck at home for months on end? He had lost a little bit of weight, but it coincided with a growth spurt, so it was easy to put it down to that. However, it was just before Easter when Joseph became unwell with a virus and forever we will never forget how unwell our little boy looked. He was grey, with black rings under his eyes, he could barely stand, and he was crying in pain – and it happened so quickly. Aside from the appetite and energy levels, it feels like it just came from nowhere. Joseph was taken to our local hospital and it was there that the doctors found that his platelets were very low and following weeks of tests and scans, he was transferred to Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital in Cardiff. A bone marrow biopsy and multiple scans revealed that Joseph had Neuroblastoma and the cancer had spread to the adrenal glands, stomach, lymphatic system, brain and bone marrow. Joseph was officially diagnosed with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma in April 2021, at just 3 years and 2 months old. Joseph’s Mum, Katy said “Finding out Joseph’s diagnosis was the hardest moment of our lives. Hearing that your child has an aggressive cancer with a poor survival rate, is a feeling that can’t be described and a feeling that I wish no other family must endure. I have sat and stared at this screen for hours trying to think of the words to describe that pain and gut-wrenching feeling, but nothing will ever come close. We couldn’t understand how this was happening to Joseph, in fact the odds of him getting Neuroblastoma was harder than winning the lottery. Why did this happen to our sweet and beautiful little boy? Why?”

Josephs Treatment

Joseph is currently undergoing Rapid COJEC chemotherapy and will then have surgery, high-dose chemotherapy with stem-cell rescue, radiotherapy and immunotherapy to complete his frontline treatment. As well as enduring the gruelling and toxic treatment, Joseph also has regular CT scans, ultrasounds, MIBG radioactive scans, MRI scans, anaesthetic, injections, transfusions, oxygen, feeding tubes and bone marrow biopsies.

“Watching Joseph go through this treatment is heartbreaking and I can’t imagine how our poor little boy is feeling. Joseph is a tough and resilient little boy, but the fear in his eyes when someone walks into his hospital room is unbearable. He begs us not to do another injection ‘please put it through my wiggly’ he says as he holds up his Hickman line. How do you explain to a 3-year-old that this injection is going to save his life? How do you go about explaining that ‘we are doing this because we love you’, when we are holding him down so that he doesn’t get hurt? How will we ever forget his screams and tears?” says Katy.

During Joseph’s treatment, only one parent has been allowed to stay with him at the hospital because of covid restrictions which has been a further strain on the family. Joseph’s six-year-old brother Liam doesn’t quite understand this rule, and not being able to see his brother has had a big impact on him.

“He regularly asks when we can be a family again and why can’t Joseph come home”, says Katy.

Despite everything that Joseph is going through, he remains a cheerful and smiley little boy. He misses his family but is making the most of facetime and keeps himself entertained with the different backgrounds and animations. He enjoys seeing his brother as a tomato, his Nannie as a bunny rabbit, Grandad as a sheep and his Nanna as a talking corn on the cob.