Leeds family’s new cancer blow

Brave Courtney Turner, 11, with her parents Janetta and Derek.
Brave Courtney Turner, 11, with her parents Janetta and Derek.
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SHE spent New Year’s day in her Leeds hospital bed, as she awaits a potentially lifesaving bone marrow transplant.

But it is hoped that 2015 could finally bring the all-clear for recovering leukaemia patient Courtney Turner.

The brave 11-year-old from Micklefield was due to finish treatment in January after her doctors confirmed she was in remission following intensive chemotherapy.

But further tests in London showed traces of the deadly disease remained - meaning there was an 80 per cent chance of a relapse.

A global search for a new bone marrow donor for Courtney was launched, and a match has finally been found.

She is now set to undergo a bone marrow transplant at Leeds General Infirmary in February or March to reduce the risks of the disease returning.

But the operation remains risky, and Courtney’s family are praying for the best.

Mum Janetta Weightman and dad Derek Turner said it was a “shock” to find out the cancer affecting Courtney’s blood had not completely gone, as they initially thought. Janetta, 37, said: “It’s been devastating worrying about her. But you wouldn’t think anything was wrong with her, she does so well. She’s an inspiration to us. We’re very proud.”

“It was a shock,” Janetta added of her daughter’s latest health blow. “They did tests in Leeds which showed she was clear, but one they sent to London showed minimal residual disease.

“She was looking to go back to Micklefield Primary School in January but it’s probably going to be the end of the summer now.”

Since she was diagnosed in the summer, Courtney has spent 15 weeks in hospital - with only seven days at home in that time.

And when she is at home, the brave youngster is at such a high risk of catching infections, she has to stay isolated and germ free.

Mum Janetta added: “She was in hospital for new year and has an infection as she has a low immune system. She has been a bit down but we try and keep her going and looking forward to the future.”

After the transplant, Courtney will need to be in isolation at home for up to six months, to prevent any infection from germs.

Janetta added: “We are really proud of her. She’s been so good through it all really, being strong. Even the doctors said they she’s doing well with it all. So hopefully it will go well with the bone marrow transplant. I think there is quite a lot of risk.”

Her mum said she wanted to thank the community of Micklefield and beyond for a huge fundraising effort. Around £5,000 has been raised for Courtney which the family hope will be used for a trip to Disneyland in Florida once she is fit enough to travel and enjoy the experience.

Even when Courtney finishes her latest cancer treatment, her battle for health will continue. The youngster suffers from a series of problems including scoliosis and a heart condition which will require major surgery in her teens.

She had been referred to the hospital’s genetics team for tests - but all that was halted by the cancer diagnosis.

Janetta said: “They think the leukaemia was just unlucky - not linked with any syndrome.”

For information, visit the family’s Facebook page: ‘Courtney’s fight against cancer’.