Feature: A brighter 2016 for family as Ilkeston teenager given all clear

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An Ilkeston youngster who was diagnosed with leukaemia three years ago is finally getting his life back on track after being given the all clear.

The family of Josh Jones, 14, have been through hell over the past three years but are now hopeful for the future.

Josh Jones, Ilkeston

Josh Jones, Ilkeston

John has returned to school full time at Heanor Gate Science College for the first time since he was diagnosed.

His mum Andrea, said: “It all started in January 2013 when he had a lump on his neck. He had nearly four weeks worth of treatment and doctors thought it was glandular fever. It got bigger and bigger so on February 19 we went back, his neck was literally square, the antibiotics weren’t doing anything. The doctor checked it out and he ended up being rushed to hospital because his breathing was going to be affected. At Derby hospital an X Ray showed a massive mass in his chest which had pushed up to his neck. Within hours he was rushed to the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham where we saw ever consultant under the sun.”

Josh underwent a full body scan which showed the extent of the mass which was in all of his lymph nodes and spread to his chest, neck and kidneys. It was so severe that the family were told he would have to start intense treatment straight away for non hodgkins T-Cell Lymphoma or he wouldn’t make it.

He had a biopsy that day and started chemotherapy immediately. This was to last for two years and saw him undergoing five blocks of treatment over the two years, at home and in hospital at the QMC.

“It wiped out his legs’, said Andrea, ‘His hands dropped and feet dropped because it attacks the muscles. He ended up in a wheelchair.”

She said the family were left feeling ‘numb’ by what was happening and Josh was having to deal with how the treatment was affecting him. He had still been going to school up until that point but had to start being home tutored.

Three years on and all of the treatment is finished.

Andrea said: “The cancer has all gone. He finished the treatment and all the chemo and it has completely gone. He now has to have check ups every six week as the first year is high risk.

“The cancer had gone by October 2013 because it had been blasted out but we were told if they didn’t continue the treatment it would come back. It killed about a third of his body.”

The focus now is to get him fitness back. Before the illness he was passionate about football and rugby.

“That’s been the hardest thing’, said Andrea, that he’s not back doing sports yet. The focus is getting him fitter and doing sports again as his legs are weak still.”

Josh, who has a younger sister, has been able to enjoy holidays abroad in the last six months and the family have been to Portugal and Lanzarote.

He has also enjoyed sailing trips organised through the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust.

Angela said they now have high hopes for the future: “For me it’s all about getting him back to himself to become more positive and getting him to enjoy life again.”

More information can be found on the family’s Facebook page called Josh Jones ‘Take back your life from cancer’.