Neighbours help mother and son

KIND-HEARTED members of a Suffolk community are rallying round to help a family which was dealt a crushing double blow. As Ipswich mother Davina Magill battled both leukaemia and heart disease, her 11-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer - which has now claimed 80% of his leg.

KIND-HEARTED members of a Suffolk community are rallying round to help a family which was dealt a crushing double blow.

As Ipswich mother Davina Magill battled both leukaemia and heart disease, her 11-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer - which has now claimed 80% of his leg.

It is their dream to enjoy a family holiday in America, but the cost of Jay's insurance alone will be more than £400.

Mrs Magill cannot work, and although her 16-year-old daughter, Tylishia has a job, there are also her 13-year-old daughter Roshedia and Jay to support. And though Mrs Magill desperately wants to take her family on holiday, she is still paying off a trip she had to cancel when she was diagnosed with leukaemia.

So neighbour and friend Jo Smith has stepped in, and set up the Jay Magill Fund to help raise the cash.

She said: "The family have been so unlucky. It didn't seem fair that they couldn't go away so I decided to do something and set up the fund. I've never done anything like this before."

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Mrs Magill was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia more than two years ago. The disease went into remission but it has since returned.

Today the 34-year-old is managing to control her illness, while taking care of Jay who has just undergone months of chemotherapy.

He is suffering from a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma.

The family have had had such a traumatic few years that Mrs Magill has even contemplated moving from her Wallers Grove home, and making a fresh start.

She said: "We have been unlucky and sometimes I think it is this house.

"First me and Jay's dad broke up, then I got leukaemia, then we had a year of nothing, and then Jay got ill."

Mrs Magill is also suffering from osteoarthritis and has a mechanical valve in her heart. Because of this, she cannot have a bone marrow transplant to tackle her leukaemia, and instead to control her illness with chemotherapy tablets.

She takes a cocktail of 25 pills each day which can cause sickness throughout the night, but despite this her outlook remains positive.

She said: "I have to cope. I don't really think about my illness, I just think about Jay."

Jay was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in June last year, after a skateboard accident left him with a broken leg.

Mrs Magill said: "He had an X-ray and then the doctors asked lots of questions. They found a lump in his leg and left it in traction for two weeks. He was on his back because they wouldn't operate.

"Then doctors said they were 99% sure the lump in his leg was a cyst, which was a relief.

"They put screws and a plate in his leg for the break. Then at the beginning of June I had a call and they said he had osteosarcoma. Even after he had been in theatre for that, the doctor was almost certain it had been a cyst."

But Jay was unfortunate and has since lost 80% of his leg to the cancer. He also has secondary cancer in his lungs.

"He had a Hickman line (a tube with which to administer chemotherapy) put in, in July, and he hasn't been at school since," Mrs Magill added.

Jay was supposed to start at Chantry High School in September, but the chemotherapy has rendered him too ill.

He spends much of his time in hospital. Although he is supposed to spend two weeks in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, and then a fortnight at home, Jay has often had to return to hospital because of infections resulting from his chemotherapy.

His mother said: "He is prone to bleeds and infections but he has been brave. He has been brought up with needles because of my condition, and he knows what his platelet and blood counts should be.

"He has been my little fighter throughout all of this, and even reminds me to take my own tablets at night."

Jay's chemotherapy has now come to an end and he seems to be coming through the worst of the illness.

n Anyone who would like to make a donation to the fund should send cheques made payable to the Jay Magill Fund, to Jo Smith, 123 Speedwell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP2 0NE.

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