Hull child is facing 27 weeks of strenuous chemotherapy after what doctors thought a water infection turned out to be cancer.
Three-year-old Poppy Smith began having abdominal pain and blood in her urine when her mother, Hollie Jagger, decided to take her to the doctor in January. Since most doctors only took phone appointments because of Covid, the family had to settle for simply sending a urine sample and explaining the symptoms over the phone.
The doctor prescribed Poppy antibiotics and said she probably had a water infection, but the symptoms continued. Poppy was then given another course of antibiotics, however her mom continued to insist that she needed to see someone in person because she knew something more was going on.
Ms Jagger, 30, said: “Poppy went to the doctor’s surgery to do another sample and I remember arguing with the receptionist and saying she really needed to see someone. I kept her sample and it was bright red – this might not be normal for any three year old to have.
“After leaving, we received a call asking if Poppy could enter another doctor’s office because they managed to find someone who would see her. The doctor immediately knew it was not a water infection and sent her to a hospital.
“On February 9, we were told that Poppy had cancer in his kidney. The doctor at the hospital said he could feel the tumor just by touching the area.”
The young girl then had to go through a terrible four weeks of chemotherapy before she could have the operation to remove the tumor. All in all, Poppy kept smiling and her mother said: “She didn’t understand much about what was going on, only that she had to take her‘ bad medicine ’.
“The really confusing part for her was when her hair started to fall out. It’s now growing back a little bit but she has more chemistry to come, so I let her know she was probably going to lose it again.”
In April, the family prepared for Poppy’s operation to have the tumor and her left kidney removed at Leeds Hospital. They were advised that the tumor had shrunk fairly well due to chemotherapy and they were hoping for positive results.
Hollie said: “We went in on Wednesday and we were out on Sunday. Even though she had such a serious operation, Poppy never stopped being our bubble and talkative girl.
“She’s always so naughty and self-confident – the only time she’s not is when she’s been given morphine and she’s in a lot of pain, which would be terrible for anyone, especially for a three-year-old. She can’t go to daycare and see her. friends at the moment due to her low immunity and she still has an additional 27 weeks of chemistry to go.
“My dad and I just want her to have something to look forward to because all she’s waiting for is the pins and needles she’s going to get from her chemotherapy treatment.”
Poppy’s mom had to quit her full-time job to care for her daughter and Poppy’s dad, Hugo Smith, and Poppy’s grandmother also took a few months of work to help. In light of this, friends and family set up a series of charity events to raise money to give Poppy the memories she deserves.
She loves everything animals, dinosaurs and Disney, so her parents hope to arrange a day or a trip for her to enjoy. They will take a sponsored walk across the Humber Bridge, wearing pink t-shirts, and Poppy herself will even join in to see how far she can get.
Hugo’s co-worker Lee Stead will also discuss the “Total Warrior Challenge” with his brother to fund some exciting activities for Poppy. This GoFundMe page is the one destined to help Poppy herself.
The West Hull family also wants to return the “Candle Lighters”, a charity that helped make Poppy smile while she was in hospital. Hugo, Poppy’s father, will be doing the 12k Total Warrior Challenge to help them, which you can donate to. here.
Hollie was amazed at all the support she received and said, “She really is so brave, no matter what is thrown at her. She’s still smiling, I’m so proud to call her my daughter.
“Even though my dad and I are no longer together, we share her care and he is an absolutely wonderful father and was her rock. Her brothers and sister also absolutely adore her.”
Poppy’s family has set up a Facebook page titled “Princess Poppy’s Journey” where they share updates on her journey to becoming completely cancer-free. They shared lots of photos and videos of her dancing and smiling and really facing her illness. You can find it here offer words of support and follow upcoming charity events.