Franny an inspiration to brave Joe
Battling leukaemia, Joe Scully may have endured a tougher three years than most his age – but he still says he has a lot to be thankful for.
The 14-year-old was diagnosed after falling seriously ill on a family summer holiday in Italy in September 2013 that saw him being flown between hospitals across the country.
Ever since he was brought home to the UK by air ambulance, his life has revolved around hospital stays and brutal chemotherapy treatment that made him sick and lose his hair. More often than not he was so poorly he could not go to school.
But despite that, the avid Saints fan and season ticket holder counts himself as one of the lucky ones. He made and lost several young friends to cancer along the way.
Describing how Joe’s leukaemia was discovered, his mum Caitriona said: “It was all quite surreal. One minute we were on a gondola and the next we were being helicoptered between hospitals and Joe was very ill.
“We had a really scary 24 hours when we first got to hospital while we waited for blood tests and results. Joe’s blood count was very low and he needed a transfusion.
“It was in the early hours of the following morning that an Italian doctor used the word leukaemia. I remember thinking, ‘did he just say that?’
Within five days the lives of the Scully family, who live in Shirley, had been turned upside down.
Joe’s cancer had been confirmed and he had started treatment. When he was well enough, he was flown home but instead of beginning senior school with his friends, Joe was starting a three year course of chemotherapy treatment began at Southampton General Hospital.
The St George’s pupil who is now in Year 10, will finally reach the end of a tough three years of treatment next month.
It’s a date that he and his mum Caitriona, 49, as well as dad John, 52, and sister Aoife, 18, will welcome.
Caitriona added: “Going through this makes you realise how much you have to be thankful for. A little girl we came to know recently passed away. Joe told me “gosh, I’m lucky aren’t I?’ and I agreed and told him ‘yes, you are’.
Speaking about Franny’s challenge and urging people to donate, Joe said: “What Franny is doing to help people like me in the future is simply amazing and inspirational! I can’t believe that he is putting himself through so much to help win the battle against cancer. I hope that with more research it will mean that more people, especially children, with cancer can be cured.”