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Coronavirus Kent: Mums from Thanet plead with people to stay home to help protect their seriously ill children

These are the brave faces of two seriously ill children who desperately need people to stay at home.

Already fighting cancer, if Ivy, almost two, and 12-year-old Ellis, contract coronavirus the outcome could be devastating.

Ellis Dockerty and Ivy McCarthy are battling cancer
Ellis Dockerty and Ivy McCarthy are battling cancer

Even if they don't, the more the virus spreads the more pressure there will be on an already-stretched NHS service, diverting much-needed care from these youngsters to people with Covid-19.

Ivy's mum Sarah McCarthy, from Ramsgate, says the NHS staff are fantastic, risking their own lives, but she says there is only so much they can do.

Her daughter was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in February, aged 22 months, and is undergoing gruelling treatment.

"It was unexpected and our lives have been turned upside down," Mrs McCarthy said.

"To add to that we are now facing a worldwide pandemic.

"Our main concerns are the effect it would have on her if she caught the virus; there is just not enough data on how children with cancer are affected, we only know that for adults the outcomes are worse and this terrifies us.

"Our other concern is that the health care system will become overwhelmed and Ivy won’t be able to receive the treatment she needs to beat the cancer."

Ivy with mum Sarah McCarthy
Ivy with mum Sarah McCarthy

Mrs McCarthy, who has two other children with her husband Ibar, says the only way to overcome the virus as a community is to stay at home.

"As a family we are following government advice but it won’t work unless everyone does," she said.

"Every time you leave the house or continue to visit family and friends you are at risk of contracting and spreading the virus.

"Even if you are ok and have mild symptoms other people you come into contact with may lose their lives.

"How would you feel if you were responsible for that?

"It’s not just elderly people at risk; children like our daughter are already fighting enough health battles and coronavirus could be the one which proves fatal.

"Our little girl means the world to us and we want her to be safe.

"Please consider this the next time you decide to leave the house for an unnecessary journey."

Ivy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in February
Ivy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in February

Despite strict government guidelines to only venture out if absolutely necessary, some are flouting the rules and carrying on as usual, with shocking scenes of people congregating in the sunshine or walking along busy promenades.

Many state it is 'only' the elderly and vulnerable who are at real risk from the disease.

But for Gemma Griffin, from Broadstairs, her 'only' is her son Ellis, who is bravely fighting osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

The Dane Court Grammar School pupil is a third of his way through chemotherapy and has just had an operation to remove most of his leg and replace it with a prosthetic implant.

"He doesn’t have an immune system in ‘normal’ circumstances let alone with this virus," Ms Griffin said.

"One unnecessary trip out, one visit, one play date all put kids like Ellis at risk," she said.

"He already has no immune system in an ordinary world - he stands no chance against Covid-19.

"We’re doing our bit to protect him. Are you?"

Ellis in his hospital bed while undergoing treatment
Ellis in his hospital bed while undergoing treatment

Ms Griffin says she has seen shocking comments on social media, including 'only a tiny per cent of the population will die from it' and "vulnerable and old can just stay in, we can carry on going out".

"Ellis is the vulnerable," she said.

"He is the tiny per cent of the population who possibly wouldn’t survive if he contracted Covid-19.

"To you he is a tiny blip on your radar. To me, he is everything.

"What the world is facing right now is scary and tough, but it’s exactly what us cancer families have had to learn to live with. It is our norm.

"This isn’t about who has it worse, it’s just pointing out that yes, times are hard and at the moment it probably feels like the whole world is crashing down on top of you.

Ellis Dockerty has a rare bone cancer
Ellis Dockerty has a rare bone cancer

"Not knowing if and when you will next be paid, scared for your children’s health and feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed - but it will get better.

"You will cope, you will come out the other side. But you can’t do it alone.

"We all need to work together in this. That extra ‘pop’ to the shops may be insignificant to you and your strong immune system, but it could be the vessel this horrible virus needs to spread and mutate.

"Please, I beg you from the bottom of my heart, please stay in.

"Help me to keep people like Ellis safe."

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