An 11-year-old boy from Mildenhall, who is battling an acute form of leukaemia, has received the chance of a lifetime at Raf Lakenheath.
Earlier this month Dawson Davidson, of Fleming Avenue, was given the full VIP treatment at the Suffolk airbase after being nominated by Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, to take part in the Pilot For A Day programme.
While on the site the youngster, who was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia back in 2010, took part in a variety of activities including an up close viewing of an F-15C Eagle and HH-60G Pavehawk helicopter, along with receiving his own flight suit.
“Dawson had a phenomenal day at RAF Lakenheath,” said his mother, Cheryl Feltner.
“At first we didn’t know if it would be Dawson’s thing but he smiled the whole time he was there.
“Going in the flight simulator and listened to an F-15 engine being tested were his favourite things.”
The Mildenhall College of Technology pupil was intially diagnosed with leukeamia in March 2010, three months after his parents suspected something was amiss.
“Dawson went to the doctors that January and part from being sleepy and pale nothing was wrong with him,” said Cheryl.
“His was given a blood test that month and the results showed something was wrong, he was then taken to Addenbrooke’s were he had bone marrow biopsy, but it was not until he had another one in March that he was diagnosed with leukaemia.”
Following a bout of chemotherapy, and subsequent treatments, Dawson appeared to be doing well in remission until taking a turn for the worse just after Christmas in 2011.
“Dawson came down with flu like symptoms then literally overnight his jaw had swollen up and his legs looked bruised so we rushed straight to Addenbrooke’s,” said Cheryl.
Dawson’s parents worst nightmares were confirmed when another blood test showed the ardent Liverpool fan had relapsed.
A bone marrow transplant at Bristol Royal Hospital For Children followed last April and Dawson is now on the road to recovery.
“The bone marrow transplant went very well although we are still in the 18 month period where his immune system needs to build up,” said Cheryl.
“The trip to RAF Lakenheath was Dawson’s first major trip since he relapsed and it was a really big confidence booster for him.”
Two days after his visit Dawson went back to Bristol for an update on his progress,.
“The review in Bristol went very well and the doctors are pleased with Dawson’s progres,” said Cheryl.