Henry’s Brave Battle

Mum’s heartfelt warning: Parents, trust your instincts

WHEN Henry McMinn was run down and pale towards the end of prep, his mum Naomi Uwland thought he could be anaemic.

On October 31 last year, she took Henry for blood tests, and that night they went trick or treating for Halloween.

The following day their world was turned upside down, and that evening Henry was at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) when his parents were told he had leukaemia.

“We were just broken,” Ms Uwland said.

“That was really hard to hear …. and it was a two-year treatment regimen.”

The seven-year-old has three younger sisters and his family lives on a farm in the Otways at Kawarren, near Colac.

His parents, Ms Uwland and dad Scott, also run a business.

“It was really heavy at the time thinking of all that,” Ms Uwland said.

After being diagnosed with precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, Henry underwent an intensive two-month treatment cycle at the RCH.

His parents rented an apartment in Melbourne while Ms Uwland’s parents looked after Henry’s sisters in Colac.

Henry now visits Geelong hospital and the RCH for frequent appointments.

He has a monthly lumbar puncture and takes daily medication – at times, up to 15 tablets a day.

Ms Uwland said Henry was in the “maintenance phase” of treatment, which he had so far responded well to.

The young Cats fan, who loves being outdoors on his farm, has recently returned for full days at school, and has taken the challenges facing him in his stride.

“He’s been a really strong kid,” Ms Uwland said.

“He is really understanding.

“There’s something special about Henry.”

Ms Uwland urged parents to trust their instincts.

“I’m so glad I went and got blood tests,” she said.

“The Good Friday Appeal is something I always see on the TV and think ‘those poor little kids’, and then it’s us this year.

“You never think it’s going to be you.

“Everyone at the RCH has been amazing and fantastic and really caring.

“We’re so lucky Henry is in the best care possible.”

She urged people to give what they could to the hospital’s annual fundraising campaign.

“You never know, it could be your child here,” she said.

Originally published in the Geelong Advertiser, 27th, March, 2023
Words: Tamara McDonald

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