Emotional moment ‘warrior’ teenager stands for first time since being told he would never walk again after leukaemia attacked his spinal cord
- Aidan Hogg, of Midlothian, was diagnosed with AML acute Myeloid Leukaemia
- Emma Davidson, 40, said her world ‘came crashing down’ after son’s diagnosis
- Scottish teen was ‘healthy and happy’ when he received ‘shocking’ cancer news
A mother has shared a video of the emotional moment her 15-year-old son stood unaided for the first time since leukaemia attacked his spinal cord – after doctors told him he would never walk again.
Emma Davidson, 40, from Midlothian, Scotland, said son Aidan Hogg was a ‘healthy and happy teenage boy’ until his shock diagnosis during the pandemic in March 2021.
The mother-of-six, who works as a florist, said her world came crashing down as Aidan, who initially thought he had a sore back, questioned whether he would die.
However, he has refused to accept that he might never walk again.
She shared an emotional post on Facebook, writing: ‘I wanted to share this with you all. I feel we have all shared so much with each other during lockdown I wanted something to make you all smile.
Aidan Hogg, 15, stands unaided for the first time since beginning his battle against leukaemia in March of this year
The Scottish teen received the shock diagnosis after complaining of mild back pain and constant pins and needles in his legs
Aidan can be seen smiling at the camera in the emotional moment he stands unaided for the first time, recorded by his mother Emma Davidson, 40
‘My son Aidan (in the video) is 15. On the March 4 this year he was diagnosed with leukaemia.
‘The leukaemia attacked his spinal cord and we were told he may never walk again.
‘This is him today during physio. He’s a warrior and he gives me hope that when you set a goal anything is possible.’
Instantly the post was flooded with support, reaching 17,000 likes and gaining more than 2,000 comments.
Emma said her son’s diagnosis was a shock – and came after he complained of a sore back – which she thought was down to his new mattress.
She said: ‘Aidan was a healthy, happy teenage boy. He played in his school rugby team and also loved going out with his friends.
‘The last week in February he began complaining of a sore back and we thought it was because we had bought him a new mattress.
Aidan, pictured with his sister Nicole, is determined to walk again after being diagnosed with Leukaemia in March
Emma pictured with Aidan on her 40th birthday before the shock diagnosis earlier this year
‘It was like this for a few days but other than the sore back he was his normal happy self, there was nothing to suggest we should be worried.
‘He was seen at our local GP office on Monday March 1. The GP thought he had a kidney infection and did tests.’
But by Thursday, Aidan’s legs felt like constant pins and needles so Emma’s husband Craig, 43, took him to the hospital in Edinburgh.
She thought he had fatigue due to lack of sleep as he had been finding it hard to get comfortable at night time.
So Emma was shocked when her husband called at 9am to deliver the devastating news that professionals thought Aidan had leukaemia.
‘My heart just sank and I couldn’t stop crying,’ explained mum Emma.
‘I called Aidan’s dad Mark to ask him to meet us there and my parents gave me a lift in. They told us they were taking him for an MRI scan.
‘By lunchtime, we were all sitting in a room with the oncology consultant who told us that Aidan had AML acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
‘I don’t think I’ve ever felt more sad my whole life than when I heard that news. The consultant explained that Aidan would require four rounds of chemotherapy that takes six months.
‘He also said that during the MRI they discovered a mass of the congealed cancerous blood on Aidan’s spine, this is what had caused the back pain and the loss of feeling in his legs.
‘By this point Aidan was in a wheelchair and could not feel anything below his belly button.’
The consultant told Emma that he would like Aidan to receive radiotherapy and that it would be carried out at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital where he would be transferred by ambulance and back four days in a row.
The consultant told her he feared that the damage to Aidan’s spine was already too severe but hoped that the radiotherapy may ease it.
He described the radiotherapy as like trying to melt an ice cube with a hairdryer.
Emma added: ‘I cried all the way home in the car and so did my husband. We didn’t talk to each other at all on the car journey home.
Aidan pictured with his little brother Robbie who wears a hoodie reading: ‘My big brother is my hero’
Aidan, pictured centre with his family, including Emma’s husband Craig (far right), has kept a positive attitude throughout his leukaemia treatment
‘Breaking the news to my children that their lovely brother had cancer was one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had to do.
‘It was on Friday that the consultant told me that Aidan may never walk again.
‘He said the damage caused to Aidan’s spine was already damaged and that they never knew if his nerves would ever recover but that we had to prepare for the fact he may never walk again.
‘That was so hard to take in and I felt sick and like I’d had the wind knocked right out of me.’
But throughout the difficult times, Aidan remained positive. He asked his consultant if he would die when they told him he had leukaemia.
They told him it was treatable and curable providing that his body reacted well to chemotherapy – which it has.
Aidan being visited by his best friend Mason while receiving leukaemia treatment in Edinburgh
Aidan has been left very poorly after each round of chemo and has been very sick but his mum Emma said he took the news about his legs so well.
She said: ‘He actually consoled me when I was crying over it and said “don’t worry mum I’ll walk again”. He’s so determined and has been smashing his physio.
‘He can now get himself from his bed into his wheelchair using a lateral slide and he’s really proud of his progress.
‘He’s amazed the doctors and nurses with how much he’s managed in 19 weeks!’
But despite his progression the family still don’t know if Aidan will ever walk again.
They said they have to take each day as it comes and see every step he takes, no matter how small, as a tiny miracle.
WHAT IS LEUKAEMIA?
Leukaemia is a cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue, usually the bone marrow.
It leads to the over-production of abnormal white blood cells, which fight off infections.
But a higher number of white blood cells means there is ‘less room’ for other cells, including red blood cells – which transport oxygen around the body – and platelets – which cause blood to clot when the skin is cut.
There are many different types of leukaemia, which are defined according to the immune cells they affect and how the disease progresses.
For all types combined, 9,900 people in the UK were diagnosed with leukaemia in 2015, Cancer Research UK statistics reveal.
And in the US, around 60,300 people were told they had the disease last year, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Most cases have no obvious cause, with the cancer not being contagious or inherited.
Leukaemia generally becomes more common with age – the exception being acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which peaks in children.
Other risk factors include being male, exposed to certain chemicals or radiation, and some bone-marrow disorders.
Symptoms are generally vague and get worse over time.
These can include:
- Frequent infections
- Heavy periods, nose bleeds or bleeding gums
- Shortness of breath
Acute leukaemia – which progresses rapidly and aggressively – is often curable via chemo, radiotherapy or a stem cell transplant.
Chronic forms of the disease – which typically progress slowly – tend to incurable, however, these patients can often live with the disease.
Source: Leukaemia Care
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