Youngster treated by ‘amazing’ St George’s teams gears up for cancer-free Christmas with sports car request
A six-year-old boy hopes Santa Claus will bring him a blue Lamborghini as he celebrates his first cancer-free Christmas since he was two.
Little Jackson Hall was diagnosed with leukaemia in February 2020 after a rash appeared on his skin that wouldn’t go away – and was treated by an “amazing team” at St George’s Hospital.
The brave youngster endured three years and two months of chemotherapy treatment before he was declared cancer free and in April this year he rang the bell to mark the end of his almost life-long journey.
Speaking shortly after the family returned to St George’s for a routine hospital appointment – and an additional trip to Pinckney Ward to deliver Christmas chocolates to staff – mum Sam said: “Everyone has been amazing at St George’s and so many have been there for us. They’re our friends and like a family to us.
“They have been incredible throughout Jackson’s treatment – from giving me a hug when I had to choose between staying at hospital or going home with my daughter, Ava, and always being at the other end of the phone, to bringing us cups of tea and stopping to chat when I was feeling sad and lonely.”
Jackson is now looking forward to lots of festive fun with his family, which includes mum Sam, Dad Shaun and older sister Ava.
Shaun said: “We are looking forward to this Christmas. Jackson is older so we can do things like Elf on the shelf.
“He said he wants a real Lamborghini but we told him that it’ll be a few more years as we have to save up for that!”
Jackson also said he wants “lots and lots” of Christmas presents and when asked how many he said: “300!”
An avid Pokeman (trading cards) collector Jackson also wants Pikachu cards.
The Hall family will spend Christmas Day at a local pub where they will enjoy a festive meal, exchange presents and Jackson, who is one of 12 grandchildren on his maternal side, will play games with his sister and 10 cousins.
A cancer-free Christmas is another milestone for Jackson as he eases back into a normal life after returning to school full-time in September.
Due to his cancer fight Jackson missed his entire reception year and 80% of year one but now he’s settled back into lessons with his classmates.
Sam said: “I was dreading him picking up something from school but he’s had a few colds and he’s been fine.
“He’s just had his vaccinations because after six months they have to have all their baby jabs again as chemotherapy wipes out everything.”
Jackson’s brave cancer journey has had a few ripples as the youngster caught Covid the month after his treatment started which was when the nation went into lockdown in March 2020.
After beating the virus Jackson went on to battle an ear infection, eye infection and potentially-deadly sepsis.
Sam said: “In 2020 we were in hospital every month as Jackson was admitted with some sort of illness.”
When Jackson was announced cancer-free he was in St George’s battling a lung infection.
For the cancer-free year, Jackson must have check-ups every six weeks which are alternated between St George’s and the Royal Marsden, which jointly provides children’s cancer services.
Once the year is over the appointments are less frequent.
Shaun said Jackson is so used to being in hospital that he presumes he’ll spend the night.
“Sometimes we’ll come for appointments and Jackson will ask ‘are we sleeping here?” he added.
NHS England is currently consulting on the future of children’s cancer services in the region.
St George’s – which has provided this service jointly with the Royal Marsden for more than 25 years – is one of two options. The other is the Evelina London.
Shaun said: “If we had to transfer to Evelina it would be added stress and worry and takes away what we can give to Jackson. Jackson has a relationship with the team at St George’s and it massively helps him.
“When we come here there’s a network and protocols in place and it takes the weight off us knowing that we have that here. Moving to another hospital will have a detrimental effect.
“We live in between St George’s and the Royal Marsden so can drive there. I wouldn’t take Jackson to hospital using public transport for his treatment.
“There’s been times when he’s been unwell and at risk of picking up an infection. If he has a temperature the protocol is to get Jackson to St George’s or the Royal Marsden within an hour so being forced to go further into central London means there’ll be traffic and nowhere to park and we might not make it in an hour.
“I feel sorry for the families further out as they have to pass St George’s to go into central London. It will cause more stress and worries to families who are going through an ordeal.
“Why change something that’s not broken?”
A consultation into the plans runs until December 18. You can take part by clicking here https://www.transformationpartners.nhs.uk/childrenscancercentre/