Little boy’s heart-rending journey

Thomas Gay, 8, is fighting leukaemia and in his short life has faced many challenges.Now he faces one of his biggest: a bone marrow transplant.

Justin Gay, father of Thomas Gay (“Thomas, 8, needs help,” Northern News, June 15) sent a heart-rending text message to Northern News last week in which he updated us on his son’s situation. Thomas has leukaemia.

“This is where we are standing now.

“We have done two bone marrow tests in the last two weeks. Thomas has active cancer cells that have reappeared, so we have two options: to go ahead with the transplant – which will most probably happen in August.

“However, there is a chance that he might relapse because of the active cancer cells, or, they say he can get heavy intensive chemotherapy to destroy the cancer, but the chemo could kill him. Just wish this was all over.

We started the new bout of chemotherapy. However it’s the normal chemotherapy not intensive.

“Nicolene and I have decided we are going to go for the transplant and not taking the chance of losing Tommy.

“As long as we have Tommy alive and by our side and see his awesome smile when he wakes up every morning.”

Speaking over the telephone, Mr Gay, who lives in Brackenfell with his family, added that medical tests still needed to be done on the donor in order to proceed and that Thomas also needed a full lung scan.

Doctors have said the eight-year-old boy should continue “as far as possible” living his life as normal and playing with his friends and cousins.

“You’d never think he has cancer when you see him, and the doctors said he must act as if he’s a ‘normal kid’.”

Chemotherapy is ongoing, and Thomas has to endure daily treatments of one week therapy and one week breaks until he undergoes the operation.

Mr Gay also told Northern News that Thomas would be given IT injections as well as chemotherapeutic drugs and steroids.

The IT, or intrathecal, injection is administered into the spinal canal or the subarachnoid space to reach the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). It is used in spinal anaesthesia, chemotherapy or pain management applications.

Nicolene Gay, Thomas’s mother told Northern News, “Obviously we decided to proceed with the procedure. Unfortunately chances for relapse are now bigger than they were before because of the unidentified cells.

“For now, we take it one day at a time. We try not to overthink everything. And in the meantime, we enjoy every second possible with my little man.”

Mr Gay said, “We’re praying it will work and really want to thank everyone who has made donations to meet the cost of the treatment and forthcoming operation. We still need to come up with another R250 000 to meet the costs.”

If you can help, call 084 511 5125.