Five-year-old leukaemia survivor reaches the end of treatment marking it ‘St Jackson’s Day’
Five-year-old Jackson celebrated ringing the bell to end his almost life-long chemotherapy journey with cheers of support from family, friends, St George’s Hospital staff – and a celebrity video message, marking it ‘St Jackson’s Day’.
Footballer and reality star Ashley Cain, who raised £1.6million for his daughter who sadly died from leukaemia at eight months old, sent Jackson a video message telling him: “You’re so strong, you’re so powerful, and I’m so happy that today is your end of treatment day, St Jackson’s Day. Let’s go, champ!”
Family showed their support at the bell-ringing event with ‘Jackson’s journey’ t-shirts and balloons a-plenty. As Jackson courageously rang the bell, he was greeted with a hug from dad and cheers of joy from his relatives and the St George’s clinicians that looked after him.
Jackson Hall finished his treatment last week, 1,176 days after being diagnosed with leukaemia. As the day coincided with St George’s Day, and being treated at St George’s Hospital, his relatives aptly named the day ‘St Jackson’s Day’.
Shaun, Jackson’s dad, said: “Everything that St George’s has done, from the very beginning, has been reassuring. This marks new beginnings for Jackson and our family.”
Jackson was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia on 2 February 2020, when he was just two years old. Shaun and mum Sam noticed a rash that wouldn’t go away and took him to their local hospital where blood tests were taken.
Little did they know how much the diagnosis would impact their lives for the next few years, as Jackson was quickly transferred to St George’s paediatric oncology unit, rated “outstanding” by the CQC. The family say they felt reassured that Jackson was being cared for at St George’s – the same hospital where Jackson’s cousin was treated for meningitis, and where the family had a positive experience.
Shaun said: “The nurses on Pinckney ward have always gone above and beyond for us.
“My wife stayed in hospital with Jackson for two weeks as we couldn’t keep coming and going. The nurses cared for not just for Jackson, but Sam too. Nurse Fatou comforted Sam when she cried after waving to Jackson’s older sister, Ava, and I through the window.”
Throughout his journey with leukaemia, Jackson received care from both St George’s and the Royal Marsden through their joint paediatric oncology service.
And over the time spent on St George’s Pinckney Ward and paediatric intensive care unit, Jackson and his family have seen the same nurses, building supportive relationship with them.
Naomi Oldreive, a Paediatric Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist on St George’s Pinckney Ward, has been with Jackson all the way through his journey and organised his bell-ringing ceremony. She said: “Ringing the end of treatment bell is a momentous occasion for patients and their family and we as an oncology team feel privileged to be part of that. It’s also an opportunity for Jackson and his parents to recognise how far he has come.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to be part of Jackson’s journey and to get to know his family. He has been a superstar and I will personally miss his smile and cheeky personality.
“We’ll all miss Jackson up on Pinckney Ward but look forward to seeing him in the outpatient department to hear all about what he has been doing.”
The ‘End of Treatment Bells’ charity have donated bells to NHS organisations up and down the country, they are a small but poignant symbol helping young children with cancer celebrate reaching recovery milestones.
This summer, NHS England will publicly consult on where a new Children’s Cancer Principal Treatment Centre should be located, and St George’s is one of the two options available.
St George’s offers unparalleled experience and expertise having provided the service for more than 20 years in partnership with the Royal Marsden, which is loved by children, families, carers and staff alike.
Jackson’s story shows why the children’s cancer service should remain at St George’s – a world leader in paediatric cancer research – to maintain the CQC rated outstanding service which is what is best for children with cancer and their families.
When the consultation process opens later this summer, St George’s urges patients and families to support its campaign to retain its children’s cancer service by asking them to take part in the upcoming consultation and share their views.
Notes to editors
More information about the NHS England consultation into the new Children’s Cancer Principal Treatment Centre can be found here: Update on proposed new locations for children’s cancer centre for London and south east England – St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (stgeorges.nhs.uk)