‘Blueberry muffin’ toddler battles rare cancer

Kole Murray who suffers from Blueberry Muffin Syndrome, at home in Sheffield. Picture: Dean Atkins
Kole Murray who suffers from Blueberry Muffin Syndrome, at home in Sheffield. Picture: Dean Atkins
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A BRAVE Sheffield toddler turned into a ‘blueberry muffin’ due to a rare form of cancer.

Kole Murray baffled medics when he developed purple lumps on his skin, which resembled blueberries on a muffin.

Kole Murray who suffers from Blueberry Muffin Syndrome with mum Shannon at home in Sheffield'Picture Dean Atkins

Kole Murray who suffers from Blueberry Muffin Syndrome with mum Shannon at home in Sheffield'Picture Dean Atkins

The 15-month-old was eventually diagnosed with a rare form of infant leukaemia – and needed a bone marrow transplant from his dad to save his life.

His proud gran Lynn Smithers and mum Shannon are now speaking up about Kole’s blueberry muffin syndrome in a bid to raise awareness of the serious health conditions with which it can be associated.

Lynn, of Manor Park, said the family first suspected there was something wrong when Kole was a few weeks old and unusual bruising appeared on his skin.

The 41-year-old said: “It looked like thumb prints on his chest.

Kole Murray, who had blueberry muffin syndrome

Kole Murray, who had blueberry muffin syndrome

“We thought ‘have we picked him up wrong, where are these bruises coming from’.”

Kole’s GP and medics at Sheffield Children’s Hospital investigated the strange symptom.

Lynn said: “Someone came back and said he had blueberry muffin syndrome.

“We were baffled, we didn’t know what it was. We were so worried, because he kept coming out with these lumps and bruises.”

Kole Murray who suffers from Blueberry Muffin Syndrome with mum Shannon and Nannan Lynn at home in Sheffield'Picture Dean Atkins

Kole Murray who suffers from Blueberry Muffin Syndrome with mum Shannon and Nannan Lynn at home in Sheffield'Picture Dean Atkins

When Kole was aged four months, he was rushed to intensive care when the lumps started swelling dramatically. Lynn said: “His little face and body were twice the normal size. I was really scared. His little body looked as if he could burst.

“He had purple dots all over – some big ones and some that went in his eyes and mouth. He was out of it for 10 days and you just thought the worst.” Kole was eventually diagnosed with leukaemia. His dad, Jordan Murray, donated the bone marrow to save his life. He had the procedure in December and was out of hospital in time for Christmas.

Lynn said: “He was so poorly but he was still giggling. He is so sweet, he is a joy to be around. He brings a smile to everyone’s face.” Kole has finished his chemotherapy treatment and the family are hoping his future will be happy and healthy.

Shannon, aged 19, of Woodthorpe, said: “I can’t explain how it felt when I found out Kole had leukaemia, it felt like everything had been taken away from me.

Kole Murray on intensive care, with his teddy bear supporting his breathing tubes

Kole Murray on intensive care, with his teddy bear supporting his breathing tubes

“It’s been hard, but I have just had to get on with it.

“Everyone says ‘I don’t know how you do it’, because I’m only 19, but you have to do it for your son.”

Dr Ajay Vora, Kole’s consultant haematologist at the children’s hospital, said: “Kole has received a bone marrow transplant from his father for a rare form of infant leukaemia which presented with lumps on his skin that had the appearance of blueberries on a muffin.

“There are several causes of ‘blueberry muffin’ syndrome, of which leukaemia is one.

“Kole and his family have shown amazing resilience during his treatment and he has happily grown and developed in blissful ignorance of all his problems.”