"I don’t want to die, mum," are the words of a 15-year-old boy from Leeds who is currently in hospital after suffering a set of horrific cancer symptoms. Harley Telford, from Belle Isle, is currently in Leeds General Infirmary after being diagnosed with leukaemia on Wednesday last week (October 19).
His mum, 41-year-old Joanne is heartbroken as she watches what she describes as her 6ft "giant baby" waste away whilst he undergoes chemotherapy to treat his red blood cells. According to LeedsLive, in the five weeks leading up to his diagnosis the Oulton Academy schoolboy began to feel very ill and experienced extreme weight loss.
He started to develop lumps and swelling all over his body and was going to his GP for repeat visits. After turning “white as a sheet” however, his family rushed him back to the doctors' surgery. His stepdad Kris Millard, 35, has spoken about how cheeky Harley, who he describes as “the joker, who enjoys a wind-up”, has been suffering ever since.
“He’s struggling at the minute with chemo," Kris said. "He’s been sick and sleeping all day. He likes to go out a lot, so it’s a big change for him.
"When he found out he was crying, saying he doesn’t want to die and stuff like that. We’re just trying to remain positive for him.
“He was saying it to his mum at the hospital. They’re very close. He’s like 6ft tall is Harley, she calls him her giant baby. So she’s been breaking down every day.”
His siblings, brother Kieran, 19, and sister Darcy, 17, are also distraught since the diagnosis. Although doctors are confident the cancer is treatable, with the expectation he’ll be back home in five months, the family have had to contend with the disease before. Harley’s dad, Shane, died of cancer three years ago.
Kris, a floor layer, says Harley has always been a “strong” lad who’s had to cope with it and is raising money to lift his spirits when Harley's finished at the hospital. His step-dad also wants to treat him with a holiday and a quad bike.
So far, he's raised almost £4,000 and promises to donate the residuals to the ward Harley is currently lying in. Thirty members of the community have also agreed to shave their hair in support who will be losing his hair as her undergoes treatment.
This will take place at Garden Gate pub in Whitfield Place, Hunslet, at 7pm on November 12. If you would like to donate to Harley’s fundraiser, click the GoFundMe page.