Loved ones help Grantham schoolboy Charlie through cancer battle
Family and friends are rallying round a teenage boy who has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and now faces six months of chemotherapy.
Grantham schoolboy Charlie Tatchell, 14, has been diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma. He began his chemotherapy treatment on Wednesday, a few weeks after being admitted to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, where he is being looked after on ward E39, a Teenage Cancer Trust ward.
Friends and family are now helping Charlie as much as they can by raising money for him and for the ward.
Charlie, of Wyndham Close, Grantham, attends Priory Ruskin Academy and is the youngest of four brothers.
His mother, Sarah Tatchell, wants to warn people because Charlie did not tell his family straight away about a growth he noticed in his groin.
Sarah said she and her husband Stuart noticed that Charlie had lost some weight and was looking pale, but they put it down to a teenage growth spurt.
Sarah said Charlie was telling them that he was fine.
But Charlie’s PE teacher also noticed that he looked unwell and he was picked up from school and taken home.
The next day, as Sarah was about to take him to see a doctor, Charlie broke down in tears.
She said: “He was crying his eyes out. There was a big growth on his leg and it had started bleeding. We took him to the GP and they said they had seen nothing like it.”
Charlie was taken to Lincoln County Hospital where he stayed for a few days before being sent to QMC. The growth was removed, leaving a large hole which Sarah says is being treated with skin grafts.
Charlie’s cancer is non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. The symptoms can include enlarged lymph nodes, fever, night sweats, weight loss and tiredness.
Doctors say Charlie’s cancer has also spread to his shoulder, some ribs and the bottom of his back.
Charlie will now undergo chemotherapy treatment which is associated with a number of side affects including hair loss. He started a course of chemotherapy on Wednesday for five straight days. He will then have a break of two weeks. The treatment will continue until August. Sarah hopes that he will be able to go home for a few days at a time inbetween the courses of chemotherapy.
She said: “It’s an awful lot for a 14-year-old to have to put up with. It’s a lot to take in. He was so full of energy and always out with his mates. Then he just came to a stop in such a short period of time.”
Sarah urged people of all ages to look out for ‘lumps and bumps’ and see their doctor as soon as possible if anything unusual appears. She said youngsters, in particular, should not be afraid to speak up if they suspect something. She said it was three weeks before Charlie finally told her about the lump.
Family and friends have quickly joined forces to help. Sarah and Stuart are at the hospital every day as are Charlie’s Nana and grandad. Sarah said: “I think it’s so nice and Charlie’s friends will definitely help him through this. The school have been great. They have been in touch during the holidays.
“The doctors here have been 100 per cent. They explain everything to Charlie in detail. You cannot fault them at all. We just can’t wait to get him home to his friends and the dog!”
Sarah has raised £120 recently for the ward and there is a raffle to raise more money on her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sarah.tatchell). A collection station has been set up at the Fox and Hounds to collect books, coffee cups, drinks sachets and other items for the ward.
A Facebook page called Tatchell Togetherness (www.facebook.com/tatchelltogetherness/) also has news of fund-raising ideas including a car wash which will be held at the Royal Queen pub today (Saturday) from 12.30pm onwards.
A number of Charlie’s friends are also having their heads shaved next Saturday, in support of Charlie and to raise money for the ward, at Scotts hairdressers in Grantham.
Family friend Kara Harrison has set up a Go Fund Me page called The Charlie Fund (www.gofundme.com/d7hx9e-the-charlie-fund) to raise money for a family holiday when Charlie is well enough. She said: “Please, please, if anyone finds a lump they are unsure of please act immediately. Charlie’s family is highly stressed and this is to all young lads especially.Don’t be embarrassed, get it checked. I’d like to raise enough money for a family holiday for this lovely family when Charlie is well. Anything is appreciated. Please help this young man.”