Born: 26/3/1979          Died: 24/10 1984.


The story of my little BAT.
My little Bat was Brave, Accepting and Trusting.

Marshall breezed off to school, February 1984, without any qualms, having an older brother, he was well acquainted with the school. After only a month at school however, I noticed that he seemed overly tired & out of sorts. I also noticed that he seemed to have a slightly swollen lower jaw. So I took him to see our family dentist who could not find any dental problems. As the tiredness continued I decided to visit our local GP. A general check -up and blood tests revealed an extremely high white blood cell count and we were immediately referred to the Royal Children’s Hospital. Enter Dr Henry Ekert, Sister Mary McGowan and the team in 6 East RCH.

Diagnosis – Burkitt’s Lymphoma- hence the jaw swelling. Prognosis 10-20% chance of recovery, limited somewhat by Marshall’s young age.  A chemotherapy protocol was developed and so began a 9 week stint as an in-patient. Marshall spent his fifth birthday in lamina flow and almost succumbed to the high doses of drugs he was given. This is when the BAT shone out, he only rebelled about one area of his treatment. As a thumb sucker he vehemently objected when the staff wanted to use a thumb for pin prick blood tests – he insisted they use another finger, loudly.  After 2 severe chemotherapy treatments and 9 weeks in hospital Marshall was declared to be in remission and allowed home.  Having lost a lot of weight for a small child he nonetheless quite quickly rebounded and in June was able to return to school when not attending the RCH for regular treatments- life returned to some sort of normality.

Until October, when recovery from the most recent chemo was not as expected and on returning to see Dr Ekert at the out patient clinic he confirmed the return of the disease. Marshall died peacefully at home in his own bed on 24th October, 1984.

Like so many parents affected by these type of events we wanted to give something back to the hospital and the wonderful staff and most especially to attempt in some small way to try to help others going through similar situations with their children. We joined CIKA in 1986 and were actively involved in raising funds to support research into aspects of childhood cancers. We are not so actively involved any more but I am delighted to follow the efforts of CIKA and the on going research which it supports. My sincerest hope is that through the efforts of CIKA, no more children need suffer as Marshall and others have.

Kaye Haslam.
April 2020.