A tear-jerking video has shown the moment a teenager hugs his mother after ringing a hospital bell to signal he is in remission from cancer.
George Harrison, 13, went through surgery and months of gruelling chemotherapy after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in April.
His family thought he had food poisoning when he fell ill after a Mother’s Day meal this spring, but doctors’ tests revealed the reality was much worse.
Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system which affects around 2,000 Brits a year, with only about 70 cases in children.
In the video George is seen embracing his emotional mother after he rung the bell at Sheffield Children’s Hospital as his treatment came to an end in October.
George and his mother, Charlotte Harrison, share an emotional hug after the 13-year-old rang the bell on the cancer ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital where he completed his chemo
‘On the day, we were all very nervous and tense,’ said his mother Charlotte Harrison, 51. ‘We didn’t know what the answer would be.
‘There was a lot of emotion and happy tears for days afterwards.’
George was taken to see a doctor after a Mother’s Day meal this year during which his parents believed he had eaten something that disagreed with him.
However, the 13-year-old – who initially suffered from headaches and nausea – was given a devastating diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma.
This is a particularly aggressive form of blood cancer which affects just 70 children a year.
After surgery to remove the cancer, George endured 18-hour chemotherapy sessions, hair loss and lost two stone, falling to just five stone in weight.
The schoolboy was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital and admitted to intensive care as soon as doctors suspected he had cancer.
A biopsy was then conducted, where medics confirmed a diagnosis of a particularly aggressive form of Hodgkin lymphoma.
Recalling the diagnosis, Ms Harrison said: ‘We just felt numb. We didn’t have time to think about anything else other than making sure George got better.
‘We had to think positive.’
George rings the bell on the cancer ward to signal going into remission in October after his treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer affecting the immune system
George rushes to hug his mother in a long embrace after he rang the bell, with both of them appearing to be crying at the emotional moment. Ms Harrison said: ‘There were a lot of happy tears for days afterwards’
One of the surgeons at the hospital even cancelled her wedding venue planning to operate on George, as his condition was so serious.
Ms Harrison added: ‘She came to see George later and she said to us “I couldn’t go to a wedding venue when I saw how ill your boy was!”
‘Actions like that are testament to the care at the hospital.
‘She’s brilliant and worth her weight in gold, but she’s not alone, the staff here are amazing.’
WHAT IS HODGKIN’S LYMPHOMA?
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in the white blood cells.
It affects around 1,950 people each year in the UK.
A common early symptom is having a painless swelling in the armpits, neck and groin.
Some people also experience heavy night sweating, extreme weight loss, itching, shortness of breath and coughing.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is most common between the ages of 20 and 24, and 75 and 79.
It has been linked to people with lowered immunity, a family history of the condition, smokers and those who are overweight.
Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, steroids and stem cell or bone marrow transplants.
Source: Cancer Research UK
George then endured several months of chemotherapy which, although extremely effective at killing off the cancer cells, caused him nausea, vomiting, hair loss and tiredness.
In two sets of the high-dose chemotherapy, George spent 18 hours a day for six days continuously undergoing treatment.
The teenager became so thin and weak he had to learn to eat and walk again.
George’s family have since been fundraising to transform the cancer and leukaemia ward which treated him in Sheffield.
Under the appeal launched by The Children’s Hospital Charity earlier this year, the transformed ward will create private patient rooms with en-suites for patients and their parents.
It will also expand the space for children to play and more than double the size of the ward classroom.
In total, the Harrison family have raised over £10,000 for The Children’s Hospital Charity.
Over £7,500 was raised through a JustGiving page set up by George’s 15 year-old brother, Roger.
George has now returned to school part-time as he continues to build up his strength.
Nevertheless, the family are determined to help ensure families battling cancer have not just the best possible care but the best possible experience too.
Ms Harrison added: ‘We can’t thank Sheffield Children’s Hospital enough, from the doctors and nurses, right through to the cleaners on the ward.
‘They were incredible.
‘We will continue to do anything we can to raise money for the new ward and make it better for others’.