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Brave Jessica has Beads of Courage

Jessica Holmes, two, of Toulmin Close, Catterall near Garstang, who has leukaemia pictured with the necklaces made from beads given to her each time she has some treatment

Jessica Holmes, two, of Toulmin Close, Catterall near Garstang, who has leukaemia pictured with the necklaces made from beads given to her each time she has some treatment

Courageous girl in dozens of hospital visits.

With several beaded necklaces hanging from her neck, you could be forgiven for thinking that two-year-old Jessica Holmes is just a little girl who loves her jewellery.

But each bead has a special significance as it represents a different treatment milestone the youngster has reached during her fight against leukaemia.

Jessica, who lives in Catterall, near Garstang, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells.

Her parents Mandy and Bob were devastated at the shock diagnosis as they initially thought Jessica had become ill with a cold.

Jessica is now undergoing intensive chemotherapy to beat the illness and has lost all her curly hair.

Jessica started having back pain and tests have revealed that the gruelling treatment Jessica is undergoing to fight the leukaemia has caused nine compressed fractures to her spine.

As a result, she is on morphine and painkillers and is now preparing to start her next block of treatment later this week. Like other children battling leukaemia, Jessica is taking part in the Beads of Courage journey.

For each element of treatment Jessica undergoes, she is given a different coloured bead. Every time she has a hospital visit, she receives a yellow bead and for each blood transfusion, she gets a red bead.

Mum Mandy, 40, said: “From the start to the finish of her leukaemia treatment, Jessica will receive different beads of courage from every time she has blood taken or given to when she is given different treatment or medication.

“Jessica is already on her fourth necklace and she will be having leukaemia treatment for another three years, so she will probably have hundreds of necklaces by that time.”

Mandy, who has four other children, has her own business called Mandy’s Home Help and husband Bob is an HGV driver. They have been struggling financially since Jessica’s diagnosis.

However, they have been overwhelmed by the support from family, friends, strangers and businesses, who have been fundraising to help them out and they have set up the Jessica Holmes Family Fund.

Dad Bob said: “Because Jessica’s treatment goes into her bones, as well as fighting the leukamia, it can cause damage too and this is what has caused the compressed fractures to her spine.

“But because Jessica is on morphine and painkillers, she is unaware and is her normal self and is happy and smiling.

“We want to thank everyone who has supported us by raising money including the RAF who recently raised more than £230 for us.”

 

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