Little Joseph Devaney is proud of his baby sister who was named in honour of the doctor who helped him fight back from leukaemia.
Four-year-old Joseph’s parents Leon and Lindsay named new-born Eliza after the daughter of their oncology doctor at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
They said they can’t thank Dr Constantinos Kanaris enough for helping Joseph through his ordeal.
“We wanted to honour the man who has been there for us,” said Leon.
“He listened to us. He looked into everything and got things done.”
Five-week-old Eliza was born in a huge week for the Devaney family.
Two days later Joseph started school for the first time. This was a massive step for the Devaneys after a nightmare 18 months.
The little lad is now in remission after first being diagnosed with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) – cancer of the blood cells – in March 2014.
Joseph endured months of chemotherapy and a life-saving operation. At one point his parents were told to prepare themselves for the worst.
But he has now recovered to the point that his beautiful curly hair has grown back and he can go to Skerton St Luke’s school in Lancaster for half-days.
“He’s just a normal boy and in his head he wants to do normal things,” said Lindsay.
“He wants to stay for a full day.”
But the family knows that they have to be careful as Joseph’s immune system remains weak. The little boy is still having daily oral chemotherapy and visits the Manchester hospital every two weeks for a lumbar puncture.
“You have to thank your lucky stars for every day,” said Lindsay. “You’re praying there won’t be a relapse. And when the chemo stops in 2017 there’s still a chance it might come back. The nightmare won’t be over.
“It’s a miracle that he’s still here. People say to us ‘Is he all right now?’ He looks like any normal child.”
Joseph has been so brave throughout his illness and now has a little sister to look out for.
“He wants to hold her all the time and he sings to her.said Lindsay. “He’s got somebody to look after now, instead of people looking after him.”