WHEN Pamela Morley’s young son began to fall ill she did what all loving mothers would do, she took him to see a doctor.
James, who was normally active, had been uncharacteristically breathless, suffering from lethargy and temperature spikes and, over a two-week period, she took him to see doctors on four occasions.
The experts she saw consistently told her that her son was fine, even though one doctor carried out a serious illness test on the youngster
It wasn’t until James complained that he was seeing everything with a pink tint that Mrs Morley, 47, decided to book an appointment with an optician in her home town of Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.
Thankfully, optometrist Sunny Boyal carried out an eye examination and found that James had a large haemorrhage and oedema (swelling) on his left eye. Leukaemia was diagnosed shortly afterwards.
Mrs Morley, who is married to James’s father Martyn, 51, said: “As soon as I told the opticians what James’ symptoms were they said I must bring him down straight away.”
She told how the optometrist immediately referred James to King’s Mill Hospital, in Mansfield, where the consultant confirmed the bleed and sent James onto a paediatric ward. There he was told he was suffering from a form of leukaemia and would need to be admitted to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.
Mrs Morley added: “As soon as that doctor said something was not right I was singing hallelujah – I knew all along that something wasn’t right and it had been so stressful to be told over and over that he was fine.
“As a mum you instinctively know when your child has something seriously wrong with them.
“All his life James had been so hyperactive; he was bouncing off the walls most of the time so we were worried about him when he suddenly changed and was out of breath, tired and getting temperature spikes.
“I wasn’t prepared to just accept the doctors’ word that James was fine. And it’s lucky that I did keep pushing for an answer – because the earlier you find the cancer the better the chance of survival.”
James underwent a number of tests at the Queen’s Medical Centre and was eventually diagnosed with Philadelphia positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia – a rare illness in children.
But after successful treatment James, who is now 13, his parents and seven-year-old sister Adele can look positively to the future.
“Things are going well and he is classed as in remission now. He could relapse but we are carrying on with his treatment. It will be five years before he can be classed as in full remission,” Mrs Morley added.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that Sunny saved my son’s life. Sunny is definitely on a pedestal – he’s a proper hero.”