South Shields parents’ joy after miracle baby battles rare tumour

Nine month old Emily Thompson has had a vascular tumour.' Things are going well after her chemo stopped. Mother Lisa Goodwin and father Grant Thompson.
Nine month old Emily Thompson has had a vascular tumour.' Things are going well after her chemo stopped. Mother Lisa Goodwin and father Grant Thompson.

A South Tyneside ‘miracle’ baby is on the road to recovery after battling a rare tumour which could have claimed her life.

Little fighter Emily Thompson was diagnosed with a condition called Kaposiform Hemangioendothelioma at just nine weeks old.

Nine month old Emily Thompson has had a vascular tumour.' Things are going well after her chemo stopped. Mother Lisa Goodwin and father Grant Thompson

Nine month old Emily Thompson has had a vascular tumour.' Things are going well after her chemo stopped. Mother Lisa Goodwin and father Grant Thompson

The tumour threatened to wrap itself around her internal organs and could have been fatal.

Mum Lisa Goodwin, 39, told how the family were dealt the devastating blow in February.

She said: “Emily was born on December 9, last year and she was a miracle baby for me as I didn’t think I could have children.

“I was in and out of hospital a lot and, when she was born, she was five weeks early so had to spend time in the special baby unit.”

She wasn’t gaining weight and we were worried about her development but she has since caught up with her weight and we are so happy. She is such a brave little girl.

Lisa Goodwin

Its been a roller-coaster of emotions for parents Ms Goodwin and Emily’s father Grant Thompson, 51.

Emily was admitted into hospital again in February after they found red swelling on the top of her leg.

Doctors at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle ran MRI scans on the brave tot and found that she had a vascular tumour which was not cancerous but had potential to grown and wrap itself around her organs – preventing them from developing and potentially ending her life.

Ms Goodwin, of Mortimer Road, South Shields, said: “We lived on the cancer ward of the RVI for seven weeks and were not sure whether it could be treated or not.”

Nine month old Emily Thompson has had a vascular tumour. Things are going well after her chemo stopped. Mother Lisa Goodwin and father Grant Thompson.  Both parents ran GNR for the charity.

Nine month old Emily Thompson has had a vascular tumour. Things are going well after her chemo stopped. Mother Lisa Goodwin and father Grant Thompson. Both parents ran GNR for the charity.

“She was given steroids but the tumour was still growing, so they gave her chemotherapy which has stopped it developing.”

Emily is now on the road to recovery with doctors stopping the chemotherapy, but her mother says the family have been on an “horrendous journey.”

She added: “She was getting chemo weekly then monthly, but now they have stopped it altogether. We found out a couple of weeks ago that the chemo has worked and they think she is getting better.

“It has been a long journey and we weren’t sure if treatment was going to work.

Nine month old Emily Thompson has had a vascular tumour.' Things are going well after her chemo stopped. Mother Lisa Goodwin and father Grant Thompson

Nine month old Emily Thompson has had a vascular tumour.' Things are going well after her chemo stopped. Mother Lisa Goodwin and father Grant Thompson

“Its been horrendous. She had to be tube fed and was vomiting because of the side effects of the chemotherapy.

“Its been terrible watching her go through the side effects.

“She wasn’t gaining weight and we were worried about her development but she has since caught up with her weight and we are so happy. She is such a brave little girl.”

Emily still has a line to her chest to allow doctors to take blood samples and, while there is a chance the tumour may grow again, her parents are delighted to see she is on the mend.

Ms Goodwin added: “If it had kept growing it would cause her organs to fail and it could have been fatal.”

She is now being monitored to make sure it doesn’t grow again.

Nine month old Emily Thompson has had a vascular tumour.' Things are going well after her chemo stopped. Mother Lisa Goodwin and father Grant Thompson.

Nine month old Emily Thompson has had a vascular tumour.' Things are going well after her chemo stopped. Mother Lisa Goodwin and father Grant Thompson.

Raising awareness

The family want to raise awareness of the condition and have raised funds for The Sick Children’s Trust and Cancer Connections who have provided support for the family, despite the tumour being benign.

While staying at hospital the family were able to gain rest at a facility provided by charity Sick Children’s Trust, which mum Lisa called a ‘godsend’ providing a much-needed break from the ward.

In gratitude to the charity, Mr Thompson completed the Great North Run with friend Ian Chappell – raising £1,200 for the Sick Children’s Trust.

The key facts about KHE

Kaposiform Hemangioendothelioma (KHE) is a rare locally aggressive vascular tumour of the skin, deep soft tissue, and bone in children.

l KHE is a benign tumour, which means it doesn’t metastasize and spread to other locations in a child’s body.

l It typically occurs in infancy and the first decade of life, but adult cases are increasingly recognized.

l KHE is very rare, it’s thought that less than one in 100,000 people are diagnosed with it.

The signs of tumour are a deep, reddish-purple colour, with the area being firm and arm to the touch.

l The skin is often shiny and tense and there may be tiny purple or red spots and a bruise-like discoloration near or around the lesion.

l About 10 percent of youngsters with KHE have no skin lesion and some lesions penetrate deeper than the skin into other tissues.

Nine month old Emily Thompson has had a vascular tumour.' Things are going well after her chemo stopped. Mother Lisa Goodwin and father Grant Thompson

Nine month old Emily Thompson has had a vascular tumour.' Things are going well after her chemo stopped. Mother Lisa Goodwin and father Grant Thompson