This is the heart-warming moment a four-year-old boy and his father were reunited with their family after spending seven weeks in hospital for cancer treatment.
James Stephenson, 32, had been isolating in a cramped hospital room with little Oliver so he could be with him while he underwent high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell treatment.
Brave Oliver was admitted to hospital on April 27 for crucial treatment for his neuroblastoma – a rare form of cancer that originates from immature nerve cells.
The pair were shielding and had to share a 15ft square room with a separate bathroom and a window at Leeds General Infirmary which they could not leave.
James was at his bedside throughout but his mother, Laura, and brother Alfie were unable to visit due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Oliver could only see mum Laura, 34, and younger brother Alfie, three, over video call – until Friday when he was allowed back home and the family could meet again in person.
Supporters and neighbours lined the street with banners and gave a round of applause during the homecoming.
Laura said she was “overwhelmed” with excitement when they returned on Friday evening – after being told in the morning her son was likely to be discharged days later.
Laura said: “He ran into my arms and we both just burst into tears – it was really emotional.
“Alfie went straight to his dad and they were both in tears too.”
She added: “In absolutely no time we were back home and totally back to normal.
“The boys are arguing over their toys and what to eat for breakfast again, it’s great.”
James could go to a tea room 15 yards down the corridor but Oliver could not leave the room at all.
They were kept entertained with arts and crafts from the hospital’s play team and watching lots of Christmas films – Oliver’s favourite even in May.
Laura added: “Oliver’s time in hospital was really hard and frustrating for the entire family, including us back at home.
“Seeing how poorly he was during chats over FaceTime was heartbreaking, I just wanted to give him a big cuddle.
“He really wanted to see his mum.”
Brave Oliver, of Ackworth, West Yorks., was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma on his kidney after some routine blood tests in January.
The cancer, a rare type that develops from immature nerve cells and affects around 100 children in the UK each year, has tragically spread to his skull, eye sockets and bone marrow.
He has undergone two operations since his diagnosis and faces up to a year of treatment.
The month in hospital had always been part of Oliver’s treatment plan – but Laura and James had never anticipated it taking place during the lockdown.
Laura said: “It was always on the agenda but at the time we thought James and I would swap every couple of days.
“He could have had visits from grandparents and friends – at least people could have gone to see him.
“We knew it was going to be difficult but the pandemic has made it ten times worse.
“It’s just heartbreaking not being able to hold him or to be there for him.
“He is only four so doesn’t really understand why mummy isn’t there and I don’t want him to think that I have abandoned him.”
Laura and little Alfie were able to video call Oliver three or four times a day and they dropped off clean clothes outside the hospital for a nurse to collect.
Now Oliver has returned home, the family will have to remain in quarantine for some weeks.
Laura and James hope to take Oliver to the USA for pioneering Bivalent treatment, which is hoped will reduce the risk of the cancer returning if chemotherapy is successful.
The family is campaigning to raise £230,000 to cover the costs of the treatment and travel.
They have already raised more than £135,000 but their big fundraising events over the summer have had to be cancelled.
Laura added: “It would mean the world to us to raise the money. It could be life-saving.
“To me and James, this could save our son’s life.”
Donations can be made towards Oliver’s treatment at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/oliverstephensonwillbeatthis