Boy, 8, diagnosed with rare cancer after leg pain from fall would not go away

Joe Kallar-Lewis, from Swadlincote, was told he has chronic myeloid leukaemia, which had caused avascular necrosis, after a hurting himself in a fall

A young boy was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after pain from a fall would not go away.

Joe Kallar-Lewis, eight, hurt his limb when he slipped on a log, and was initially told he had a fractured kneecap.

But the pain would not go away and he started vomiting and losing weight.

Less than two months later, doctors then delivered some devastating news.

Joe was told he has chronic myeloid leukaemia, which had caused avascular necrosis – both very rare conditions to find in children.

His mum, Dal Kallar, has now told her daily heartbreak of seeing her young son battle for his health, reports StaffordshireLive.

She and Joe’s dad, Dave Lewis, now regularly find themselves at Birmingham Children’s Hospital as he undergoes treatment.

Less than 15 children are diagnosed with this cancer every year in the UK – with less than one person at Joe’s age being diagnosed.

Since then it has been a long and emotional journey for the family as they battle the chronic illness that the youngster, from Swadlincote, will have for the rest of his life.

The medication he takes is toxic so can leave him feeling very ill and the struggle is on to stabilise his condition.

Dal said: “It’s been a long couple of years and he’s still not stable. Joe has been really good in himself, he’s a little trooper. It has almost become normal for him and he doesn’t really know any different, which is really sad.

“It’s all back and forth to the hospital. The medication he is on has brought the cancer down but not enough. It does have side effects and they are reviewing it but we haven’t got many options left.

“The worry never leaves us and we just try to find a way to cope but it’s the unknown all of the time. We try to make it as normal as we can. We take him to school when he is well enough and we’re doing the best we can.

“It does get to you, and every week or two I break down crying again.”

Joe was diagnosed in February last year and has not left hospital for long periods of time since. The medication he is taking is toxic which has left him with bad side effects, including stomach pains.

His mum said: “It’s awful. It’s just so hard going through it. There’s so much emotion to carry every day.

“What he has got is incurable and it’s rare for someone of Joe’s age to get this. The one Joe’s got is a chronic illness so it is something he will just have.

“He does say that it gets him down and he feels different to everyone else. We have never told him he had cancer, just poorly blood. A lot of the time he just ploughs through it.”

Covid did help him in a way as everyone else was at home, so Joe did not feel different, but now they are back at school he does struggle to do some things that his friends can do.

Plucky Joe raised more than £2,500 for Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital with a birthday fundraiser which saw his mum walk 750,000 steps on his behalf which meant he could kit out the hospital with portable DVD players and Amazon Kindles that were donated by Amazon after someone at his school made the company aware of what he was doing.

Now his mum is planning to climb Mount Snowdon next year to raise money for Cancer Research in honour of Joe so “kinder treatments for children” can be found. Money will also go to Molly Olly’s Wishes, a charity for children with life-limiting illnesses which makes their wishes come true.

The mum is hoping to complete her trek it on April 2, weather permitting.

Originally she was going to walk it alone but after putting a message on Facebook, some friends have said they want to join her. She has already started training and gets up at 5am to exercise each day in preparation.

Dal, who also has daughter Amber, aged 23, said: “With everything that he has been through, this feels like almost nothing. I wanted to do something in honour of him and what he’s been through.

“If people can support me, it’s a really great cause and I want to do this for Joe. It would mean more than the world to us, it really would.”