Birth of 'angel' child gives hope to mother in defiant battle with cancer

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A father today told of his joy at his “angel” son, whose birth gave doctors a chance to save his fiancée who was found to be suffering from a rare form of cancer.

Ella Sykes, from Battersea, south London, was given the devastating news that she was suffering from a rare form of cancer following tests she underwent in hospital hours after birth of her first child.

Her fiancé Ferdi Kuyper, 39, today described his son as an “angel” whose birth let doctors spot the cancer early enough for the mother to receive treatment.

Ms Sykes, 34, was told she would need an immediate CT scan after medics found a growth that had developed on her neck towards the end of her pregnancy.

She returned home with her partner and her new baby but four days later, she was back in hospital for a biopsy and procedure to have her thyroid gland removed.

Ms Sykes was diagnosed with stage 3 thyroid lymphoma and started chemotherapy at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital straight away. 

Cancer battle: Ella Sykes with her eight-week-old son Jax (Family handout)

Her partner Mr Kuyuper, a media worker, said: “Just hours after giving birth, Ella was informed of the potential diagnosis of some type of Lymphoma following a needle biopsy which was taken from a lump on her throat. 

“She was told that treatment would most likely be chemotherapy but they needed to operate and carry out a full biopsy of the lump to confirm their suspicions.

Ella Sykes, 34, with her fiancé Ferdi Kuyper, 39 and their eight-week-old son Jax (Family Handout)

“It was the happiest day of our lives one minute and the worst day of our lives the next.”

He added: “There is no doubt that Jax is an angel. If it wasn’t for him, Ella may not have been diagnosed so quickly. 

“She just thought she had a pregnancy related thyroid issue and it may not have been spotted so early. We have to count our blessings.”

“It’s difficult for Ella though because she has to be separated from Jax for days at a time when she is having her chemotherapy treatment.”

Thyroid lymphoma begins in the thyroid gland, which sits just below the voice box and produces the hormones that control the body’s metabolism.

It is a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in which white blood cells, called lymphocytes, become abnormal. The cells build up in the thyroid causing a lump on the front of the neck.

Ms Sykes with her fiancé Ms Kuyper and their baby son (Family handout)

Treatment depends on the type and the stage of the cancer and can involve radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Ms Sykes’ sister Jade Diaz has set up a fundraising page to help support the family while she spends long periods in hospital and Mr Kuyuper looks after Jax. £10,000 has been raised so far.

Ms Diaz said: “Ella is responding well to treatment and is currently having a second round of chemotherapy at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and the whole family has pulled together to support the couple but they really need some financial support at this time.”

She added: “Once the treatment is finished they are still facing a long journey back to recovery physically and emotionally.”

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