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HEXTABLE: Brave six-year-old to spend Christmas in hospital
WHILE many of us will be opening Christmas presents at home with our family, a six-year-old boy from Hextable will be spending the day in hospital.
Drew James was just like any four-year-old, with a love of Star Wars and dinosaurs.
Then in May last year, after a string of illnesses, everything changed.
After a few visits to Darent Valley Hospital and a blood test, Drew was referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where his parents Debbie and Gordon were given the devastating news their only child had acute myeloid leukaemia.
However, the Hextable Infant School pupil was given odds of 80 per cent of beating it and completed his treatment in September last year.
Drew was doing well but after having a flu jab in October this year he began feeling unwell and another hospital visit revealed he had suffered a relapse.
Although 40-year-old Debbie is trying to stay positive for Drew, she is finding it tough.
She said: “I am scared to death and I worry every day. It feels worse this time because it is a relapse.
“It is always in the back of my mind, I just worry I am going to lose him. It breaks my heart every day.”
Drew has been in and out of the hospital since October and has had three further sessions of chemotherapy.
He is due to have a bone marrow transplant next month.
Debbie has been trying to making his stay in hospital as festive as possible by bringing in Christmas cards, a fibre optic tree and decorations.
Her mum and dad, Carol and George, might also be spending their Christmas Day at the hospital.
Debbie, of Claremont Road, Hextable, said: “It is a gruelling time for Drew and he has become a bit upset because he has lost some of his hair.
“At the moment he is low and within himself.”
The hospital has also been trying to organise treats for Drew.
He was due to go to the premiere of new Disney film Bedtime Stories and meet actor Adam Sandler and comedian Russell Brand last Thursday but was unable to go as he was unwell.
However, Drew did manage to make the Great Ormond Street Christmas party on December 8.
This was attended by Britain’s Got Talent winner George Sampson, X Factor finalists Same Difference and Harry Potter actors Rupert Grint and Tom Felton.
Among the presents Drew has asked for at Christmas are computer games and toys.
He is a big fan of pop supergroup Abba and loves to sing their songs. He also likes Transformers.
To minimise the risk of infections any Christmas presents he receives will have to be replaced after his transplant and he will be in isolation for up to six months.
Debbie said: “If someone could give me a magic wand for Christmas and I could magic it away I would, it is so hard.
“I am so proud of him. He has coped with it reasonably well and shown real strength and courage.”