Baby’s ‘flu’ helped doctors discover huge tumour

Nyree Harrison with 11-month-old Holly, who is undergoing chemotherapy. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Nyree Harrison with 11-month-old Holly, who is undergoing chemotherapy. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Have your say

A MUM-of-four today told how her baby daughter’s life was saved because of a bug.

Nyree Harrison, 40, thought 11-month old Holly probably had the flu when she took her to the local doctor’s surgery in Niddrie.

In fact she ended up being rushed to hospital with bronchiolitis, only for doctors to then discover a massive tumour in her liver.

Brave Holly is now undergoing gruelling chemotherapy until surgeons decide whether they can remove the tumour, or if she will need a full transplant.

Ms Harrison said she was in no doubt her daughter “would be dead” if doctors had not made the discovery by chance eight weeks ago.

“To get told your bairn’s got cancer is absolutely horrendous,” she said. “It’s been such a shock for us, especially when she went in with what we thought was a bad cold or flu.

“She’d been poorly with a runny nose and being sick a lot, so I just thought it was a nasty bug and it had all come to a head. She was so ill with the bronchiolitis that she couldn’t breathe without the life support. It was horrible to see her hooked up to it with tubes down her throat like that.

“But now I thank God she was ill – otherwise she wouldn’t be here today.”

She said her usually happy and smiley youngster first showed signs of illness after running a high temperature and being repeatedly sick.

She took her to the local doctor’s surgery before rushing her to the Sick Kids, where she was immediately put on oxygen to treat a respiratory infection. Startled doctors found the lump in her stomach – which measures the size of a large grapefruit – during an initial examination.

Doctors believe Holly was born with the rare type of cancer, mainly seen in over-65s and affecting just 15 in every 100,000 children aged under four. Initial treatment has gone well and she is expected to travel to the liver unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital for specialist care.

Neighbours have rallied round the family, setting up a Facebook page to track Holly’s progress and organising a fundraising night at the Jewel Miners Club on March 15.

Family friend Paula Walker, 31, said: “We wanted to do something nice for Holly and we have been stunned at the amount of people in Niddrie that have given us things to auction for her.

“It’s heartbreaking to see her family go through this so we’re doing anything we can to help.”

Holly’s family, including sisters Kellyanne, 17, nine-year-old Chloe and brother Dale, 14, now face an anxious wait for an MRI scan next week which will determine what happens next.

Ms Harrison said: “It has come on so quickly, she was a happy wee thing, smiling away all the time. I’d taken her to the doctors because her tummy was hard but they just thought it was constipation and gave her something to help.

“But the Sick Kids were right on the ball from the minute she was in there. They have been brilliant. We have good days and bad days, but you have to keep faith in the doctors who say they are hopeful.”