Seren makes a splash in local swimming baths thanks to fundraising group

Seven-year-old Seren Mawson from Grendon, who has been undergoing treatment for a rare blood cancer, has enjoyed a mermaid-themed pool party celebration for her birthday, thanks to the generosity of children’s charity, Simon’s Heroes.

Life changed for Seren and her family in December 2018 when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).

ALL is a rare cancer of the blood that occurs when abnormal cells in the bone marrow begin to grow out of control. It progresses quickly and aggressively and requires immediate treatment with toxic chemotherapy drugs. Although rare, ALL is the most common type of childhood cancer, but it can also occur in adults, usually as the chronic, slow growing, form rather than the acute, aggressive condition. Adults usually survive and can live with chronic leukaemia however between 1 and 2 children out of 10 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) will die.

Since her diagnosis, Seren has endured frequent stays in hospital whilst undergoing intravenous chemotherapy, which has left her tired and vulnerable to infection. She was unable to attend school during this period and missed spending time with her friends.

Kate Mawson, Seren’s mum, said: “The lifesaving chemotherapy treatment also prevents Seren from doing what other children do. She has fatigue, muscle weakness, nerve damage, weight gain, as well as weight loss and immune system suppression, which increases the infection risk from her central line. The central line is a tube straight into Seren’s heart, she needs it because of the huge pressures the chemotherapy drugs would otherwise put on her veins.

“All these effects of treatment meant that Seren couldn’t do the things other children could. The promise of swimming again was the thing that kept her going through some really difficult times. Actually, swimming again was the moment where I felt like we were winning the fight. She has come such a long way and survived the first year. I did cry a little in the pool the first time she swam again.”

Seren’s central line was removed in October 2019, a week after her 7th birthday as Birmingham Children’s Hospital said she could continue the next 18 months of treatment without it, and Seren was keen to mark the occasion with a celebration involving her friends.

Kate added: “Seren loves mermaids and really wanted a mermaid party with all of her friends! We were delighted when Simon’s Heroes said they could make this happen! They also gifted her a mermaid tail swimming costume to wear which she was thrilled about! She had a fantastic time, it was emotional for the family but for her it was being normal again and that is all she had wanted since December 2018.”

Author: C Abbott.



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