Christmas wish granted for Worthing boy after six months in hospital

A three-year-old Worthing boy who has spent the last six months in hospital had his Christmas wish granted when he was allowed to spend the day at home with his family.

Louis Knight at home for Christmas with sister Isabelle
Louis Knight at home for Christmas with sister Isabelle

Louis Knight has experienced months of difficult and painful treatment after being diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, in July.

After a touch and go few days, he was reunited with his parents Chris and Nicki and sister Isabelle for Christmas.

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On Christmas Eve they did a Zoom with Santa and when he asked the family what they wanted for Christmas, they said: “We already have it.”

Louis Knight, aged 3

In recognition of the courage he has shown throughout his treatment, Louis has been awarded the Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People Star Award, presented in partnership with TK Maxx.

His father Chris said: “Louis is barely three but he has already been through so much.

“He has been on a very heavy protocol of treatment and in a lot of pain.

“It’s hard for him to understand why people keep prodding and poking him and giving him medicine that makes him sick.

Louis and Isabelle are reunited at Christmas

“There have been so many ups and downs, with infections, sickness, temperature spikes, and some very, very scary moments.

“But despite this, there are small windows where he smiles, laughs, jokes and shows his cheeky monkey side – as well as his impressive knowledge of dinosaurs! We are so proud of him and his fighting spirit.”

Signs of Louis’ illness first emerged when he began to rub his eye and complain of pain, before developing a squint a few days later.

Doctors at Southampton Children’s Hospital eventually confirmed he had a tumour the size of an apricot at the top of his nose which was growing fast.

Treatment started almost immediately and, apart from a brief trip home during the summer, Louis has remained in hospital ever since.

The family has gone through endless distressing moments, including a traumatic few days where doctors fought to save Louis from a life-threatening infection in his bowel.

After six very difficult months, doctors advised stopping Louis’s treatment and his parents agreed.

His last chemotherapy was due early next year, but because of the extreme reaction he has had to each cycle of treatment, his medical team think further treatment could put his life at risk.

“The uncertainty now is whether the treatment has been enough,” said Chris. “We’ll get an initial indication of that by the end of the month.”

Chris, a director at Coutts bank, and Nicki, who started a new job as head of learning and development at CloudFactory just as Louis was diagnosed, said their workplaces had been ‘incredibly helpful’ over the last few months.

“Our friends and colleagues have rallied around us, letting us know that they are behind us all the way,” Chris said.

“And Louis is in good hands in Southampton.

“All we really want is for him to be well and home with us again.”

Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People spokesperson for Sussex, said: “Louis has been through so much in his short life and has been a total star.

“It’s an absolute privilege for us to be able to celebrate his courage with a Star Award.

“Cancer can have a devastating impact on children and young people and many of those who survive may experience serious long-term side effects from their treatment.

“We’re encouraging people to nominate inspirational youngsters for this year’s Star Awards, so we can recognise more children like Louis.”