Brave Jessica (4) battles cancer to start school

Jessica Holmes    Photo Neil Cross
Jessica Holmes Photo Neil Cross

At one stage her parents were told she wouldn’t make it through the night – but brave Jessica Holmes has battled through cancer and is now set to start school.

Jessica, four, who lives in Catterall with her mum Mandy, dad Bob and four siblings, was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia – a cancer of the white blood cells – in 2013.

You never expect something like this to suddenly happen to your child and when it does, it knocks you sideways

Mum

Now her mum Mandy said: “She has been given the all-clear by doctors.

“It’s been a terrible two years but Jess has just smiled and laughed through it.

“She will crack jokes to cheer everyone else up and she is always thinking of other people before herself.”

Now she is set to starts at St Mary’s School in Claughton-on Brock but because she has been with her family 24/7, she is going to miss them. “Last year they said she could come home but two days before Christmas she was back in hospital.

“We will just take each day as it comes and go with the flow.”

Although all the signs are good, her parents Mandy and Bob have to monitor her temperature twice a day.

Mandy said: “If her temperature is over 38 degrees we just drop everything and take her to hospital.

“She could have an infection in her Hickman line. You’ve got to be so careful.”

Mandy said: “She has had to have home tutoring because she was supposed to start school last September but because she had been in intensive care and had infections she couldn’t.

“We have all been together for three years and she doesn’t want to leave me.

“She says ‘Are you going to pick me up from school’ but I think she is ready for it.

“She is four going on 44. She seems to know everything.”

Jessica was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2013.

Her mum Mandy and dad Bob were devastated at the shock diagnosis as they initially thought Jessica had become ill with a cold.

Jessica underwent intensive chemotherapy and lost all her curly hair.

She started having back pain and tests revealed that the gruelling treatment had caused nine compressed fractures to her spine.

Like other children battling leukaemia, Jessica took part in the Beads of Courage journey.

For each element of treatment Jessica underwent, she was given a different coloured bead.

Every time she had a hospital visit, she receives a yellow bead and for each blood transfusion, she got a red one.

Mandy said: “You never expect something like this to suddenly happen to your child and when it does, it knocks you sideways.”

Mandy said: “We would like to thank everybody who helped us on Jessica’s cancer journey.”

The family set up the Jessica Holmes Family Fund to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House, where the family stayed for a month after Jessica’s diagnosis.

Visit www.facebook.com/jessicaholmesfamilyfund

Jessica’s Story:

Family Christmas for brave Jessica

Jessica’s special Christmas wish

Jessica’s family give back to cancer charities that helped them

Disney trip for girl who cheated death