Pierce's happy place
Before his diagnosis last February (aged 6) for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), Pierce was a very active child who enjoyed swimming, playing rugby and doing karate. But due to his diagnosis and introduction of his Hickman Line along with the Covid 19 pandemic, it has put an end to most strenuous and contact activities until the end of treatment which is July 2023.
Pierce's mum shares his story:
I wanted to write a note to CFC- the trustees, your team and everyone who has made having a bike for Pierce possible. Please do send this on to them from us as a family. The wonderful work you all do has such a positive impact. I know you all deal with very sick kiddies families and possibly understand all of the below but I just wanted to express our appreciation and what a bike means to Pierce. Sorry in advance if comes across as soppy but it’s heartfelt.
Pierce has always loved his bicycle, which he learnt to ride aged 4 without stabilisers. At 5-6 he was cycling 10 miles a day unassisted, quite happily.
Last year Pierce was diagnosed with ALL and one month later the whole country shut down. Cycling seemed to be the one thing the nation turned to and it became impossible to find Pierce a replacement bike as he outgrew his own.
Cycling has always been escapism for Pierce and found huge solace in his bike after his diagnosis. On days he was too tired he would bike. Pierce finds it difficult to walk after his IV Chemo & Steroid Pulses each month for the best part of 10 days. It’s due to bone loss as the chemotherapy targets his bone marrow. On days like these even though he struggles to walk he finds freedom on a bike. It keeps him mobile (literally avoids him losing use of his legs) and brings him great joy. Unfortunately he outgrew his bike and we couldn't get another one, that's when we applied to CFC.
Bikes have offered so many people sanity through the pandemic and it’s easy to see why. To a 7 year old child with ALL, it is an invaluable gift even more so in these times.
For Pierce it means:
First and most important....it puts an instant smile on his face. As a parent you start counting these a lot more after diagnosis. Steroid treatment impacts their mood severely. The bike is his mood elevator!
It offers wings on days his legs are too tired to walk after chemotherapy.
It offers a happy distraction during steroid pulses when all he can think of is food.
It offers physical well being at a time when treatment means weight gain is an inevitable consequence.
It offers mobility and keeps him out of a wheelchair. The treatment can be cruel. The chemo and steroid treatment combination can lead to bone loss and muscle waste. We quickly learnt after having a crawling 6 year old that the only way to combat this is with activity. It tends to be an impossible feat on certain days, but the bike 7 out of 10 times can rescue us, even if it means activity for 15 mins.
Above all, it offers a little boy escapism from the relentless daily chemotherapy and cancer treatment.
So for all of this and making his days on this 2.5 year journey brighter we would like to say thank you to everyone involved for making it possible for Pierce to have the very special gift of a new bike. His happy place...