Mother could sense her daughter, ten, had cancer before diagnosis

Mother says she could sense her daughter had cancer weeks before the ten-year-old was diagnosed with little-known form of the disease

  • Sharon McAllister, 36, spoke of her ten-year-old daughter’s battle with cancer
  • Kaiann was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia at age eight in 2019
  • Sharon has shared heartbreaking pictures of Kaiann’s grueling cancer treatment

A mother has spoken about her ten-year-old daughter’s grueling battle with cancer, saying she could sense her daughter had was sick weeks before the diagnosis.

Sharon McAllister, 36, said cancer did not show up on her daughter Kaiann’s initial blood tests, but she sensed that the ten-year-old was suffering from the disease. 

Kaiann started complaining of back pain in December 2018, which continued to get worse until she could hardly walk due to the ‘crippling’ agony.

Sharon, from Rutherglen, Scotland, said: ‘I explained I thought she was really ill. I could smell a smell from her that I’ve smelled before from a lady I looked after who had cancer. It sounds crazy but I just couldn’t shake this feeling off.’ 

Sharon McAllister, 36, said cancer did not show up on her daughter Kaiann’s (above) initial blood tests, but she sensed that the ten-year-old was suffering from the disease

Kaiann, from Rutherglen, Scotland, started complaining of back pain in December 2018, which continued to get worse until she could hardly walk due to the ‘crippling’ agony

After multiple visits to doctors and A&E, Kaiann was taken into hospital in February 2019 and not long after Sharon and her husband Mark, 34, were told that their daughter had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia – a form of cancer that affects white blood calls.

The disease affects around 790 people in the UK each year, with most cases developing in children, teenagers and young adults. 

Kaiann has since undergone grueling treatments and operations, which have side effects including hair loss and blisters and sores, to fight the disease.

Sharon has shared Kaiann’s powerful and inspiring story on Facebook page Go Gold Live, which is sharing children’s stories across September for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and also aims to raise awareness about how childhood cancer is not rare.

She also posted heart-wrenching photographs of Kaiann’s battle with cancer alongside the story, with the aim of showing people the reality of how hard and grueling cancer treatment is for children.

Speaking about the treatments, Sharon said: ‘She has slight memory loss and now struggles with spelling, something she was very good at. She has anger out bursts and mentally scarred by the trauma. 

Sharon shared Kaiann’s powerful and inspiring story on Facebook to raise awareness about how childhood cancer is not rare and show the how hard cancer treatment is for children


Kaiann has since undergone grueling treatments and operations, which have side effects including hair loss and blisters and sores (above), to fight the disease

‘She lost the ability to walk and had to use a wheelchair for months, and learn to walk again. She has no reflexes. She couldn’t eat for weeks because her mouth was too sore and full of Mucositis that went down into her gut. 

‘She has fractures on her spine and needs bone infusions to try and strengthen her bones.

What is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia?

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is a type of cancer that affects white blood cells. It progresses quickly and aggressively and requires immediate treatment. Both adults and children can be affected.

Around 790 people are diagnosed with the condition each year in the UK. Most cases of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia develop in children, teenagers and young adults. 

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is the most common type of leukaemia that affects children. About 85% of the cases that affect children happen in those younger than 15 (mostly between the ages of 0 and 5). It affects slightly more boys than girls.

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is different to other types of leukaemia, including acute myeloid leukaemia, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and chronic myeloid leukaemia.

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia usually starts slowly before rapidly becoming severe as the number of immature white blood cells (blast cells) in your blood increases.

In some cases, the affected cells can spread from your bloodstream into your central nervous system. This can cause neurological symptoms (related to the brain and nervous system). 

Source: NHS

‘She’s had blood transfusions, platelet transfusions and sepsis. Her body is covered in scars, she lost her beautiful long hair and has been left mentally scarred by all of it.’

Sharon added that she also shared the pictures on Facebook to show other people ‘the realities’ of what her family is living with.

She said: ‘Every blood test is a worry, every lumbar is a worry, every single day is a worry. You see the smiles on Facebook but what you don’t see is the hurt the pain and the mental effects. It would break you, so just take a minute and think when you sit and moan about life is it really worth that moan?

‘Just think how hard life could really be. Be thankful you are not faced with all this.’ 

Sharon added that she ‘did not know how to’ explain the diagnosis to her daughter, who was just eight at the time.

She said: ‘Explaining to our beautiful girl was heartbreaking, she was scared she asked if she was going to die. We didn’t have that answer but held her tight and told her no way, not on our watch. She was eight, she was our baby she shouldn’t be worried about death.’ 

Kaianne had organised fundraiser event Go Gold Live at Glasgow’s Barrowlands to raise awareness about childhood cancer, but the event had postponed until 2021 due to coronavirus. 

She said that Kaiann’s journey has been ‘extremely tough’ but added that her daughter has been her ‘warrior’. 

Sharon added: ‘You see the smiles on Facebook but what you don’t see is the hurt the pain and the mental affects, it would break you.’

She also said she is grateful for Kaiann’s consultant ‘who has got her to where she is today’ and said her family cannot thank her enough for doing so. 

Kaiann will hopefully finish treatment on her 11th birthday, May 3, 2021, after nearly two and a half years. 

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