The mother of a toddler who survived cancer but was left unable to talk or eat after spending almost a year in hospital plans to launch a charity to help other families.
Rachel Kingham, 36, of Mawsley, whose three-year-old son Arthur narrowly avoided having his leg amputated two years ago after a tumour swelled it to twice its size, and only had his feeding tube removed in September, hopes to launch Arthur’s Next Steps to help socialise other children, isolated by treatment, through play therapy.
Mrs Kingham, a nursery practitioner, said: “It’s for children who have been in hospital for a long time. We’ll go out to houses and help them. Nothing can give them the time back, but we can help them to learn to be children again.”
Arthur, who will turn four on January 16, is becoming more like a typical toddler by the day, particularly since he returned to Mawsley Day Nursery, where Mrs Kingham works. But just a few months ago his development was severely stunted by his ordeal.
He grew used to being fed through a tube after months in hospital undergoing gruelling chemotherapy to shrink the tumour, then surgery to remove it, and refused to eat when the treatment ended. Never using his mouth muscles to eat stunted Arthur’s speech. Following specialist treatment in Austria and months of patient encouragement, Arthur tried a chip, then some chicken and finally enough to sustain himself without the tube.
Now Mrs Kingham wants to help other children to overcome their experiences of being in hospital.