Rash on toddler’s ankle turned out to be sign of cancer

A devastated mum has spoken about how an innocent looking rash on her young son’s ankle turned out to be a sign of cancer.

Sharon Hilton, 35, said her young son Max, then only three, had started to develop a temperature and a recurring limp within a short space of time in August 2018.

The third time it happened, she and partner Michael, noticed a small rash on the little boy’s ankle.

Receive newsletters with the latest news, sport and what's on updates from the Liverpool ECHO by signing up here.

wallasey printers liscard wallasey

The mum from Southport said: “For about two weeks he had a temperature off and on. We thought at first it was just a viral infection that kids pick up at nursery, it was just one of those things.

“But we also noticed that two times, along with the temperature, he’d developed a limp as well.

“So the third time it happened he had the limp again but also a tiny rash on his ankle that looked like little raised dots.”

Thinking Max’s symptoms could be something more than a common infection that young children at nursery pick up, she made him an appointment to see a GP who immediately referred him to Ormskirk Hospital.

wirral airport transfers mersesysideairportservice.co.uk

A blood test found that Max’s blood platelet level was really low, and he was kept in for four days while more tests were carried out.

Unfortunately, the results of those tests confirmed the parents’ worst fears that Max was seriously ill with leukemia.

Sharon describes the devastation the whole family felt at getting the diagnosis.

She said: “It was just heartbreaking. There’s no other way to describe it.

“Me and Max’s dad took it in turns to have a meltdown and we think we knew that neither of us could do it at the same time.

Parents Sharon Hilton and Michael Tobin with young sons Max, five, and older brother Jamie, 11.

“There was no explaining to Max at that age what was going on or what’s wrong, other than try to explain to him that he was a bit poorly and we needed to give him medicine to get better.”

Max was immediately put under the care of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where he started an intensive course of chemotherapy and other treatments that took their toll on the little boy.

Due to the lack of a functioning immune system, Max developed a life threatening infection early in his treatment.

Max, now five, pictured with mum Sharon

He also developed dangerous blood clots which meant that his mum and dad had to pin him down to administer painful blood thinning injections twice a day for five months.

www.wirralwebdesigners.co.uk website designers wirral

Sharon posted about the experience on her Justgiving page, saying: “It took three of us to pin him down each time as he screamed in fear and pain as the injections burned under his skin.

“It was absolutely heartbreaking to know I had to inflict this pain to save him.”

Despite not being able to mix with other children for a long time during his treatment, Max has developed an incredible bond with older brother Jamie, 11.

The first six months of Max's treatment Sharon describes as “terrifying”.

The side effects of the chemotherapy meant that Max temporarily lost the use of his legs and could no longer walk – this made her feel his development was stalling along with all the school he had missed.

After battling to overcome the horrendous early part of his treatment, Max is still receiving chemotherapy, steroid injections and blood transfusion two years on.

He undergoes daily chemotherapy sessions, topped up by stronger weekly and monthly treatments which he will need to endure until October 2021.

Keep up to date with what's happening in your local area by entering your postcode below.

Despite the challenges – made worse by not being able to mix with other children for large parts of his treatment – Max has developed an incredibly strong bond with older brother Jamie, 11, and the two have become inseparable.

The family hope that Max will be able to avoid any serious infections until his treatment finishes next year.

They have created a Justgiving page to help raise funds to take the family on holiday to Disneyland Paris and swim with dolphins as something to look forward to and keep Max's spirits up.

If you would like to make a donation to Max's fund then you can do so on his Justgiving page by clicking here.

Sharon has posted on the page: “The fear as a parent is unbelievable and it continues everyday.

“Max is kept isolated as much as possible, he’s missed nursery, preschool and a large portion of reception class.

“He’s not managed to develop friendships and has missed out on so much especially now COVID is around.

Top news stories

  • Woman critical after car hits tree
  • Murder probe after man stabbed to death
  • Four men stabbed
  • Liverpool station fills with smoke

“But the fear of whether this will ever be over or whether it will return is unbearable.”

She added: “We’d love to have some family time together and really treat both the boys after such a difficult time.

“We know a lot of charities help with this but we also know that due to COVID they are all struggling incredibly with finding the money for all these kids.”

PUBLISH YOUR ARTICLE ON NEWSWIRRAL.CO.UK