THIS time last year Archie McNish and his family were reeling from the shock of the toddler’s cancer diagnosis.
But 12 months later, the future looks a lot brighter for the two-year-old.
Archie is more than a year through a three-year course of chemotherapy and doctors say they are “over the moon” with his progress.
Parents Thomas McNish and Nicola Holder, of Hylton Lane Estate, say they are delighted with how well their son has coped with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
“Your world gets flipped upside down when something like that happens, everything just stops” said Thomas, 33, who works in alarm response.
“But Archie is great in himself. This time last year he had just got out of hospital after being diagnosed in November, so this Christmas will be a lot better for him. The doctors have said they are over the moon with how well he has responded to the treatment.”
Archie was first diagnosed after mum Nicola, 31, who is also mum to Lily, seven, noticed bruising on his legs. She took him to the family GP who noticed a needle point rash and Archie was rushed straight to hospital.
After a year of high-dose chemotherapy, Archie is now on maintenance treatment which includes fortnightly trips to the RVI in Newcastle, as well as daily chemotherapy, administered by a syringe in his mouth, at home.
During their tough time, the family have been helped by two local companies who have clubbed together to make Christmas a little easier.
When Archie was diagnosed Nicola and Thomas were in the midst of renovating their home, work which had to be put on hold as they devoted their time to Archie’s hospital visits.
In particular, they struggled to get Archie in and out of home as their driveway lay unfinished, full of potholes and rubble.
The Toma Fund - a charity who supports families from the North East and Cumbria who are living through treatment for childhood cancers – offered to fund completion of the driveway.
They approached social business Gentoo Group who worked in partnership with Wearmouth Construction to get the driveway complete in time for Christmas.
Nicola, who works at St Paul’s Primary School, said: “A new driveway might sound like a strange request but it has made our lives so much easier. Being able to park closer to the house helps us to get Archie in and out much more easily. I want to say a huge thank you to the Toma Fund, Wearmouth and Gentoo for all their hard work. It’s made a huge difference to our lives.
“We’ve also had so much support from friends, family, staff at the RVI and St Anne’s and St Paul’s Primary Schools.”
Lesley Fairley, director of operations at Gentoo, said: “We’re really glad that by working with our supply chain we’ve been able to help Nicola, Thomas and their family. Gentoo is an Art of Living business and knowing that we’ve been able to improve this for Archie’s family is extremely worthwhile.”