39 days in the isolation ward: Chloe’s story

Six-year-old Chloe was diagnosed with leukaemia and spent more than a month in isolation at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) while she underwent a bone marrow transplant. 

Diagnosis 

After spotting a swelling on Chloe’s leg while on a family holiday, Chloe’s mum, Anke, decided to visit the local doctor. “On our summer holiday we noticed that Chloe was always tired,” says Anke. “She got a swelling on her leg, it looked like she had been bitten by a mosquito. I took her to the doctor who said it might be bed bugs, which horrified me. The swelling didn’t go down and she got a temperature so we were referred to our local hospital, where they prescribed antibiotics.

“When nothing changed, we went back and by sheer luck managed to see an oncologist there. They took some scans of Chloe and we went home to wait for the results. We were called within an hour and a half and told to come back immediately. We were told she had leukaemia and that the scans had shown her liver and kidney were really enlarged, which meant she was quite far advanced. After getting the news we were put in an ambulance and sent straight to GOSH.”

Chloe on Safari Ward
Chloe on Safari Ward

Arriving at GOSH 

Anke says: “We arrived at GOSH the week she was supposed to be starting school for the first time. Chloe was started on emergency chemotherapy. Chloe’s a tough cookie. Even the day before we got to GOSH, all she complained of was an aching leg. 

“In the new year we were told that Chloe’s chemotherapy wasn’t working and she needed a bone marrow transplant. They found a donor and a month later she had her transplant. We were really lucky – we know some people have had to wait a long time before a donor can be found.”

Chloe’s bone marrow transplant

“Chloe spent 39 days on the isolation ward at GOSH,” says Anke. “Once she started feeling a little less sick, having to stay in her room felt very claustrophobic for her. On the isolation ward, the kids are going through hell and it’s very lonely for both the children and their parents. The staff are fantastic though and they keep you going. The Play team really help the children, like Chloe, to cope with being separated from their family and friends. 

“Chloe’s really arty and really hit it off with the Play Worker, Amy. Together they would talk about what Chloe missed from home and then make or draw something. So Chloe had drawings of her fish tank on her window and her cat, Jet, and drawings of me, her dad and her sister Kiera. Chloe made so many decorations that there wasn’t any blank wall space left. She was surrounded by her favourite things from home.” 

Chloe today

“Chloe’s sister Kiera was dealing with everything really well until Chloe went into isolation. Kiera found that the hardest thing. Not being able to play with her or talk to her properly. It was then she asked me ‘is Chloe going to die?’

“The thing Chloe found most upsetting was having to miss a year of school with her friends. It meant so much to her when she went back in September last year. She’s doing amazingly well now, I’m so proud of her.”

An exciting partnership

Chloe has been busy over the last few months helping Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity launch an exciting new partnership with Fairy Non Bio. From October 2017 to January 2018, Fairy Non Bio has committed to one donation to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity for every special product pack sold. You can spot the special packs easily in stores as they have all been decorated with Chloe’s brilliant drawings. 

You can support seriously ill children at the hospital through this partnership by picking up a special pack of Fairy Non Bio in supermarkets between now and the end of January. All of the money raised will help to fund vital rebuilding of the hospital, pioneering child-health research, providing specialist medical equipment and fun support services for children and their families.

To order your special pack now, Ocado are supporting our campaign by promoting the partnership online. Pick up your specially-designed GOSH Children’s Charity pack now.