Coleraine mum: We thought our son had a cold ... it was cancer

Hunter McCrellis has cancer in his tongue and throat area
Hunter McCrellis has cancer in his tongue and throat area

A Coleraine family is coming to terms with a shock cancer diagnosis for their son.

Three weeks ago the parents of eight-year-old Hunter McCrellis thought he was suffering with a cold.

But then they received the news which sent their world tumbling around them.

“In the space of three or four weeks to go from what we thought was a cold and sore throat to all this is just unbelievable ... it’s devastating, but for Hunter we will fight with him every step of his way,” Hunter’s mum, Donna, told The Coleraine Times.

“Doctors originally thought he was suffering from quinsy [a rare and potentially serious complication of tonsilitis], but when they tried to drain what they thought was an abscess one of the consultants realised it was a hard mass.

“They scheduled him in for surgery as the antibiotics hadn’t shrank it. But complications arose during the surgery and Hunter bled out after they removed his tonsils. Doctors had to perform a tracheotomy to save his life.

“He spent a few days in hospital between the Royal Children’s Hospital and Antrim before he was eventually allowed to come home.

“The next day I got a call from one of the consultants at Antrim Hospital, all I could hear were the words tumour and cancer.

“We were told Hunter had Burkitts or B Cell Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma over his tongue and all around the area of throat. It was devastating news but we had to stay strong for Hunter.”

Hunter has been receiving treatment over the last 10 days and doctors are pleased with the progress he is making.

“The doctors all agree everything looks to be responding well at the minute so things look better,” said Donna.

“They say it’s very treatable and curable, but there are no guarantees.”