Thursday 28th September 2017
Martha Main McCruden from Nairn was just 3 years old when she was rushed to Yorkhill where she was diagnosed with leukemia. Now her family, friends and local community have been fundraising for our Schiehallion Appeal to give young patients just like her the best possible chance in their fight. Martha's mother Dawn shares her story:
Martha had been complaining intermittently of sore legs and a sore arm so we got a GP appointment.
I left the house for Martha’s check-up without even taking my bag. It was over 3 months before I stepped in my house again.
We were sent to Raigmore hospital for an x-ray and bloods, to be told that Martha had an extremely high white blood count and that it was highly likely to be leukemia.
It was incomprehensible. I heard the words but you just can’t take it in. I was very calm to start with, but calling her Dad to tell him was very upsetting.
From Nairn to Glasgow
We were transferred all the way to the old Yorkhill hospital first thing in the morning, to learn that Martha would be hospitalised for the next 3 months.
It is a complete cliché but life was turned on its head. It was very surreal. We had been warned by the doctor overnight about Schiehallion and to be prepared to see sick children at various stages - he said it can be a shock to start with, and it was.
We got confirmation of her diagnosis quickly - high risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
Martha very quickly deteriorated and her veins just didn't work for cannulas. It still makes me cry thinking about holding her while they were trying to get needles in, and her crying “make it stop mammy” over and over.
Within a few weeks, Martha stopped eating, drinking, talking, walking – she even had to go back into nappies. She contracted Miller Fisher syndrome – a disease of the nerves which shut down her body.
As she began to recover from this, her mouth broke down and her tongue was one huge sore so she couldn’t eat or drink. At one point she was on 17 different drugs I counted - and that didn't include any of the Chemo's she was getting, that was just for side effects.
Our Family, Our World
We have all been changed since Martha’s diagnosis. You really appreciate things and getting back to a normal way of life has been such a treat. It affected everyone in our family, not just the 4 of us.
The girls’ Granny Wilma and Granny Margaret were a huge support to us, looking after Martha's little sister Millie and helping us at the hospital.
John struggled to keep his restaurant open in Forres whilst trying to get down to Glasgow with Millie to see us every Monday to Wednesday. He eventually lost the business and as Martha was so incapacitated, I had to be signed off work to be there with her 24/7.
Our world was us - keeping it together and cheerful for the girls, as they were our only priority.
Please Support The Schiehallion Appeal
Martha was initially on a clinical trial, however due to complications she progressed on the standard treatment for ALL. This has been proven to be effective but includes long term use of treatments that can cause future illnesses.
The current treatments used are so hard on their little bodies and can cause chronic or terminal illnesses down the line. It’s something I try not to think about, but it is vital that we get better treatments for our children and give them the best possible future.