A seven-year-old Newmarket boy continues to smile through despite intensive treatment for a rare form of cancer.
In his short young life Zach Jolley has already had two bone marrow transplants and is currently battling the aftermath of intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
His compromised immune system means he cannot play outside with other children and he has been unable to attend his Houldsworth Valley school since January.
Zach who has earned the nickname ‘Iron Boy’ has adrenoleukodystrophy a rare genetic illness.
Mum Sarah James, who has just had daughter Ellie, now 12 weeks old, lost her father to the condition which she says more people should be aware of. Boys contract the condition which can be fatal in young children but girls tend to just carry the gene.
Following MRSI scans Zach’s condition was shown to be deteriorating and doctors at Bristol’s Children’s Hospital carried out two bone marrow transplants this year. He was finally allowed home in July but this week he was back in hospital with an infection.
Sarah, of Windsor Road, said: “I had Ellie by Caesarian section while Zach was having another line put in. He spent his 7th birthday having chemotherapy.
“Everyone falls in love with him. He doesn’t moan. He was told he could come home twice and then he had these spikes in temperature and was back in isolation. I am so proud of him.
“It’s the school holidays and he sees the other children out and about and he can’t go out and play with them.
“He hasn’t moaned at all. He has been so strong, so inspirational. I am so proud of him.”
“The only thing that has kept him going is Lego. He loves cycling, playing football but has no stamina. He would love to go out and play football with his friends but he is too weak.”
Sarah, 31, a travel consultant with Thomas Cook, said she and her partner Jaimie Jolley had not slept under the same roof for five months while Zach was receiving treatment in Bristol.
Sarah is keen that people are more aware of the condition which is often misdiagnosed or not picked up early enough. More information is available on www.aldlife.org