BRAVE schoolboy Bradley Doyle should be in the middle of his first year at secondary school – but instead he is in the middle of the fight of his life against a rare form of cancer.
The 12 year old is used to playing football and rugby outside with his pals but has spent the last three months in a hospital bed facing gruelling non-stop treatment.
Today, devastated mum Carole Barclay reveals the heartache of the last three months and the moment her “beautiful” son turned to her and asked: “Mam, I’m not going to die am I?”
The battling youngster had his life turned upside down just two days before Christmas when he was rushed into hospital with medics fearing a leak from one of his kidneys.
But after a number of tests and scans, Bradley and his loving family were told the devastating news that he was suffering from Burkitt lymphoma, a rare form of cancer which had actually burst through his stomach.
Carole, a 37-year-old mum of five, said: “It has been a living nightmare, I just can’t believe what is happening.”
Carole and Bradley first noticed something was wrong late last year.
The youngster went for checks at the doctors after suffering with diarrhoea and a bloating stomach which was getting bigger by the day.
He was raced from One Life Hartlepool to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, on December 23 and was devastated to be told that he would have to spend Christmas in hospital.
But that devastation was just the start of the heartbreak for Bradley and his family.
The Catcote School Business and Enterprise College student was transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), in Newcastle, shortly afterwards where medics discovered the cancerous tumour.
He has since spent every day in his hospital bed facing course after course of intensive chemotherapy to completely rid his body of the tumour.
Bradley was forced to spend his 12th birthday in hospital earlier this month, and wasn’t even able to eat due to the effect of his treatment.
Carole said the cancer can be cured, but Bradley needs to have a puncture through his spine every time he has treatment to ensure the disease doesn’t spread.
Carole is spending five nights every week at Bradley’s bedside before coming home to see her other three sons, Callum Barclay, 13, Tony Barclay, 15, students at Dyke House Sports and Technology College and Michael Barclay, 17, a student at Hartlepool College of Further Education.
The mum who lives in the town centre area of Hartlepool and who is also mum to Sophie Barclay, 19, said: “I’m going to sleep at night thinking about Bradley but also worrying about the other kids.
“Bradley has been so brave, we are all so proud.
“When he was first moved to the RVI he turned to me and said ‘mam, why am I here, I’m not going to die am I?’
“All I could tell him was the doctors had found a lump and they were going to make him better.
“He asked whether he was going to lose all of his hair and when I told him that he would he said he just wanted it all shaving off.”
The heartbreak is obviously having an affect on Bradley’s family.
Callum has shared a bedroom with Bradley all of his life and Carole revealed that Callum hasn’t been able to sleep in the room since Bradley received the devastating diagnosis.
“Bradley has been crying a lot, he just wants to be home”, added Carole.
“But he is doing so well, he is as strong as an ox.”