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Boy given ‘weeks to live’ after cancer diagnosis preparing to start school

PUBLISHED: 15:48 21 September 2020 | UPDATED: 19:03 21 September 2020

Nicola and Glenn Carpenter, 44, with their son, Alec, aged four, who is preparing for his first day of school Picture: CANCER RESEARCH UK/MARK HEWLETT/PA

Nicola and Glenn Carpenter, 44, with their son, Alec, aged four, who is preparing for his first day of school Picture: CANCER RESEARCH UK/MARK HEWLETT/PA

A boy from Stowmarket who doctors feared would only live for another two weeks after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at four months old is preparing to start school.

Alec had tumours spread throughout his body but has recovered to begin his education Picture: CANCER RESEACRH UK/MARK HEWLETT/PAAlec had tumours spread throughout his body but has recovered to begin his education Picture: CANCER RESEACRH UK/MARK HEWLETT/PA

Alec Carpenter, now four, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2016, with his treatment beginning immediately after as doctors feared he would not survive for more than a few weeks.

After undergoing four operations after the cancer spread throughout his body, Alec has now been in remission for three years - and is preparing for his first day at school next week.

His mother Nicola, 41, said she cries when she sees what Alec has achieved at pre-school, and she is now fundraising for Cancer Research UK.

She and husband Glen Carpenter, 44, who both work as tailors, will take Alec to school for his first full day on September 28.

Doctors feared the Stowmarket youngster had only weeks to live after his neuroblastoma diagnosis Picture: CANCER RESEARCH UK/MARK HEWLETT/PADoctors feared the Stowmarket youngster had only weeks to live after his neuroblastoma diagnosis Picture: CANCER RESEARCH UK/MARK HEWLETT/PA

Mrs Carpenter said: “Alec has been at a fantastic pre-school and his last reports were excellent, exceeding all expectations, which made me cry when I read it.

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“We know how hard he has worked to get to where he is now.

“He hasn’t got the energy of the other children and he hasn’t got the same stamina but he tries his best and we are so proud of what he has achieved.

Alec in hospital being treated for neuroblastoma Picture: CANCER RESEARCH UK/PAAlec in hospital being treated for neuroblastoma Picture: CANCER RESEARCH UK/PA

“He is looking forward to big school and we are so excited for him, it’s going to be quite an emotional day for all of us.”

Mrs Carpenter said she and her husband were determined to give Alec as normal a life as possible, which included him going to a mainstream school.

She said finding a school for her son has been a challenge due to his extra care needs, but is looking forward to his first day of reception.

Alec’s operations left him with Horner Syndrome, a rare disorder which means he cannot control his body temperature on one side, he has weakness in one arm and one hand and a droopy eye.

While he was being treated, tumours had developed in his chest, liver, stomach, spine, skin, bones and lungs.

Alec will need to be regularly monitored by doctors until he is 18 years old.

Mrs Carpenter added: “We have constant relapse fears where we have had to cancel holidays and things waiting for results but the latest MRI scan he had is the first one we have had where there is no change and nothing the doctors need to monitor which is fantastic news.”

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