A toddler has got a real Buzz after he beat his cancer which was only detected when he tripped over – his Toy Story ‘Slinky dog’.
Little Alfie Powell tumbled over the coiled spring middle of the plaything based on the dog character.
His mum Emma Holden, 31, rushed him to hospital when he repeatedly cried over back pain.
And while his back was uninjured, it prompted doctors to investigate further and the found out Alfie had Wilms’ tumour – a rare kidney cancer.
After a gruelling six month course of chemotherapy, Alfie was declared free of cancer just days before his third birthday and still loves to play with the toy that saved his life.
Emma said: “Alfie always says ‘Slinky dog saved my life’, bless him!
“It was really surreal because he didn’t have any obvious symptoms before he tripped.
“Alfie loves the Toy Story films. He’s got quite a few Toy Story toys and we’ve still got Slinky dog – I think we’ll always keep it.”
Emma took Alfie to the hospital after becoming concerned when he repeatedly pointed to his back and cried hours after his little trip over the toy in July 2018.
Doctors noticed that Alfie’s stomach was unusually swollen and decided to send the little boy for an ultrasound which revealed Alfie had a tumour on his right kidney.
It is thought that the fall could have triggered pain due to the tumour.
Cleaner Emma said: “When the doctors took him for the tests, we had no idea what was wrong – we thought he’d just hurt his back.
“They told us they’d found a tumour and the room just started spinning.
“I could barely hear what they were saying after the word ‘cancer’, I just couldn’t focus, I was in so much shock.
“We were all heartbroken. I still struggle to put into words how we felt after seeing Alfie in so much pain.
“He was screaming, crying and he’d start again when anyone walked into the room.”
Brave little Alfie of Worsbrough Dale in Barnsley had chemotherapy treatment on the cancer and leukaemia ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
By the time it was Christmas 2018, Alfie was nearing the end of his chemotherapy treatment but barely had the strength to enjoy the holiday.
Emma said: “Alfie didn’t even want to get out of bed when Santa had been, he was so weak from the chemotherapy that he couldn’t even walk some days.
“That Christmas was a really hard one. Whilst other people were organising parties and buying presents, we were on the cancer ward supporting our little boy.
“We found the care in Sheffield Children’s Hospital simply amazing. On our first night there, a nurse told us ‘Don’t worry, we’re like a big family here’ and it is certainly true.
“They all learnt to understand Alfie, his ways and how to deal with him so quickly. They helped to bring him on as a person so much and it made it all that bit easier for us.”
Alfie underwent surgery to have the tumour and his right kidney removed and he received the all clear just days before his third birthday in March 2019.
The little lad is now looking forward to enjoying Christmas cancer free at home with mum Emma, dad Aaron, sister Sophie and of course his beloved Slinky Dog toy.
The thankful family are now speaking out about their story to help raise money for The Children’s Hospital Charity to go towards a new cancer ward at the hospital that cared for Alfie.
Emma said: “While this year will be different due to coronavirus, it will be very special to us as Alfie will be at home opening presents with the biggest grin on his face after undergoing chemotherapy.
“We will be wearing our Christmas jumpers and raising money to say thank you for the lifesaving care Alfie received.
“We stayed on one of the new wards after his operation to remove his tumour and kidney and Alfie loved the bright, spacious room – I’m sure it helped him with his recovery.
“We would love to help bring these bedrooms to the cancer and leukaemia ward as some patients are there for long periods of time.”
Lucy Rathbone, regional fundraising officer at The Children’s Hospital Charity said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to Alfie’s family for sharing their moving story in support of the fundraising for a new Cancer and Leukaemia ward at Sheffield Children’s.
“Patients, families and staff deserve facilities that match the excellent standard of care provided, and with your support we can help make that a reality.”