A teenage boy is fighting for his life on a ventilator after a chance check-up at the dentist led to him being diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer.
Mum Sarah Upfold thought 16-year-old Kieran was dieting when he lost his appetite after saying he wanted to lose weight.
She was then told by an NHS 111 operator that it sounded like a viral infection when she called the line after her son began suffering headaches.
But when Kieran began complaining of pains in his mouth she booked him for an emergency dentist appointment which finally prompted the horrific discovery, Hull Live reports.
She was left in ‘utter shock’ when the practitioner told her that her son needed to be taken to hospital immediately.
Hours later, Kieran, who has Asperger’s syndrome and autism, was diagnosed with blood cancer and rushed to Leeds General Infirmary.
The youngster has since been diagnosed with Burkitt lymphona and doctors are beginning chemotherapy after he was placed on a ventilator.
“I was in bits, in pieces, you never expect that to happen to your child,” said Sarah, 44, said.
“I would have never thought my child would ever get cancer. I thought the walls had come tumbling down when I got told the news.
“You hear all these stories of it happening to other people and you have empathy, but you don’t have a clue or understanding of what they’re going through.
“It was a total and utter shock that came out of nowhere.”
The devastated mum, a full-time carer for Kieran, has said that because of his autism she has not been able to properly explain how poorly he is to him.
“He sees the world differently to how you and I do,” she said. “He doesn’t always communicate as you and I do.
“He wouldn’t have been going through all of this and didn’t say ‘I really need to be seen’ because he wouldn’t have understood.
“Once you’ve met Kieran, you know you’ve met him. He’s quite loud. He’s quite a strong character. He can talk you to death, normally about one subject.
“Kieran is really into games and music, and can talk to you for hours about random bands you’ve never heard of.”
A fundraiser has now been launched by the team at Hull charity Aim Higher to help Kieran’s family through this unimaginably difficult time.
His friends have also set up a Facebook page called Ks for Kieran, where they describe him as “the loveliest boy with a huge heart who helps others in any way he can, even though he struggles himself”.
They aim to buy him a Nintendo Switch for when he wakes up, due to his love of computer games.
Kieran’s dad, Martin, a care assistant, described his son as “brilliant” and said he’s still trying to process everything that’s happened so quickly.
The 42-year-old said: “We are just trying to get our heads around it all. I’ve been moved to tears by peoples generosity, and I just want to thank them for that.”
The mum and dad have urged any other parent who suspects there is something not right with their children to seek medical help straightaway.
Sarah added: “You honestly have no idea what’s round the corner. Please, if something doesn’t right with yourself or your child, please please get it checked out, it could save your life.”