‘He was my perfect little boy’

Leighton Sadler
Leighton Sadler

A YOUNG mum has told of her heartache after losing her son to leukaemia just two weeks after his second birthday.

Little Leighton Sadler was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s T Cell Lymphoma when he was only 16 months old.

But he lost his brave battle, leaving his family devastated.

His devoted mum, Tasha Chaffey, 20, said: “I’m distraught, he was my perfect little boy.”

Toy Story-mad Leighton,

whose favourite phrase was “to infinity and beyond” from the Disney movie, had to have 12 operations, including having a central line and a Hickman line fitted, as well as lumbar punctures, and 70 transfusions in his short life.

He was plagued by infections and contracted various viruses, including swine flu and septicaemia.

While Leighton was going through his ordeal, his brave mum, Tasha Chaffey, 20, suffered an agonising miscarriage with her third child at 16 weeks and had to give birth to her stillborn baby.

Tasha, who is also mum to 11-month-old Ashton Sadler, said: “Leighton had been through so much.

“He was perfect.

“He was just a smiley, happy, lovely little boy, he was never naughty.

“I’m very, very raw.

“I miscarried six weeks before Leighton died, I got very depressed after that.

“And to be 20 with two kids – a baby with lymphoma and a baby just starting out, it was so hard.”

Tasha said Leighton had cold-like symptoms at the end of October.

He was given Calpol, but when there was no improvement in his condition a week later, Leighton was prescribed antibiotics.

But after Leighton was unresponsive and “floppy” when Tasha tried to wake him one day, the panic-stricken mum rushed him to the doctor’s.

As Leighton had an unusual wheeze when he cried, the doctor admitted him to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.

A chest X-ray led medics to warn Tasha that his chest was full of fluid and if he had been seen 10 minutes later, his lung would have collapsed.

The baby was given oxygen and rushed to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, where doctors suspected pneumonia and empyema, a collection of mucus in the chest and lung.

But three days later, on November 13, last year, test results revealed an abnormality and Tasha and her partner Rikki Sadler, 20, were given the devastating news Leighton had leukaemia.

Tasha, of Heathfield Drive, said: “I never in a million years thought they would say cancer.

“I burst into tears, I was 19 and they said ‘your son’s got cancer’.

“The first thing I said was ‘is it curable?’ they said it is 90 per cent curable but they also said the cancer doesn’t kill them, it’s the infection that kills.

“It’s the worst thing anybody could ever be told.

“Leighton was just 16 months old, it was heartbreaking.”

Leighton was transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, and put on a four-week course of steroids to help shrink his tumour as doctors could not operate due to its position, behind his heart and squashing his lung.

He was then given five months of intensive chemotherapy, spending time in and out of hospital, with Tasha and Rikki having to live at the Crawford House accommodation in the hospital grounds.

His condition deteriorated on June 24, two days after his birthday.

He was placed on a ventilator and on July 5, Tasha’s 20th birthday, his temperature had rocketed to 40.6C.

He was rushed into intensive care and then placed on a life support machine.

But sadly he lost his battle on July 8.