Mother’s horror as son’s excessive thirst leads to one in a million diagnoses

Rachel Daley, 38, from Merseyside, was shocked to learn her son’s extreme thirst was because he had a rare form of cancer after doctors initially dismissed the symptom

Rachel Daley and her family were devastated by the diagnosis
Rachel Daley was devastated by her son Jack’s diagnosis

A mother was in disbelief when her son’s excessive thirst led to a nightmare diagnosis.

Rachel Daley, 38, began suspecting something was wrong with her son Jack after his third birthday, when he began to lose weight and his appetite.

The toddler also wanted to drink more and urinate frequently, but doctors dismissed his symptoms as normal.

Rachel’s maternal instincts prompted her to take Jack to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis, the reports Liverpool echo.

The condition, now classified as a type of cancer, is so rare that only four in a million children are diagnosed in the UK each year.

It was a huge shock to Rachel and her family and Jack was taken to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to undergo treatment.

Rachel, from Wallasey, Merseyside, said: “When we first went to the doctors they told us to come back in two weeks.



“But within 10 days he had a really bad turn in kindergarten so I just threw him in the car and took him to A and E where the diagnostic process started.

“It was really a nightmare. I was so shocked. At the time, the disease he was diagnosed with wasn’t even classified as cancer. It wasn’t until a month after his diagnosis that the time had come.

“There’s not a lot of research done or money spent on it because it’s relatively unknown. So I relied heavily on what I could find online and other people’s stories.”

After a year of chemotherapy and steroid treatments, Jack was given the all-clear.

However, in February 2018, he relapsed, forcing Rachel to quit her job to take care of him and his younger sister.

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Rachel said: “Jack’s treatment was supposed to be a lot more intense this time, he had to be transferred to Alder Hey so it made sense for me to stop work.

“At the same time, I saw an opportunity on LinkedIn for a start-up program through the School for Social Entrepreneurs at Blackburne House on Hope Street.”

It was then that Rachel came up with an idea for The Positivitree, a service dedicated to improving the mental wellbeing of families with children who have additional health or care needs.

Rachel had already started a popular blog about her experience as an “oncology mom” and wanted to use everything she learned to help other parents in a similar situation.

She said: “We support parents and carers who have children with disabilities, special educational needs and medical conditions.

“We have a peer support network, we have regular group workshops, we give advice and guidance on the support available.

“The most important point in this is the well-being of the parent or carer and making sure they take care of themselves because we have learned from personal experience how important that is.

“You can’t do a great job of taking care of your child and their needs if you’re not taking care of yourself, so it’s about reminding parents and carers in our community that they matter too. “

Rachel’s work has also earned her special recognition and a shortlist at this year’s Merseyside Women of the Year Awards.

The event, which celebrates the achievements of exceptional women from across the region, returns to Liverpool’s Crowne Plaza Hotel on July 1 after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic.

Speaking of her nomination, Rachel said: “It’s absolutely wonderful to be nominated. The range of women shortlisted is incredible, so I’m very proud to be named among them.

“Nice that the girls from work nominated me.”

But for Rachel, what she’s most proud of is Jack’s recovery as her son will start high school in September.

She added: “He’s great, he’s doing really well. He is our Director of Inspiration and has already agreed to work for the charity when he is older.”

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