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Too traumatised to talk – boy’s sister, carer and friend reveals mental health toll of cancer fight | UK News

“Every time I go to the hospital, I collect one from the play lady,” Oliver says. 

Oliver Chapman, 11, is softly spoken. And he is obviously quite shy. This explains why he does not make eye contact when he talks.

He is talking about multicoloured beads and his small fingers are playing with a long chain of them

“The white one means chemo, black one means needles”, he explains, after tipping out the contents of a jar onto a rug on his living room floor.

Oliver Chapman, 11, showing his beads which he tracks his cancer treatments with

Each bead is a reminder of every treatment Oliver has received during a life-long battle against a rare form of cancer.

In total, there are 3,000 beads.

Oliver has Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH). It means some cells normally found on the skin spread to other parts of the body and attack them.

When Oliver was two years old, the LCH attacked his skull, his gut, his liver, spleen and skin.

Oliver is still too traumatised to talk about his ordeal. Instead, his 15-year-old sister Macie explains the toll the treatment has had on her brother, both physically and mentally.

Macie is now 15
Macie is now 15

Macie has been with Oliver every step of his very difficult journey. She has been his carer and friend, administering his cancer drugs when nobody else could and reassuringly holding his hand when he was terrified of going to hospital again.

This has taken its toll on her too.

Read more:
The crisis in children’s mental health services

Oliver Chapman, 11
Oliver is now 11 years old

Oliver Chapman, 11, and his sister Macie, 15

“Lately Oliver has been struggling with his mental health because of all the things he’s been through. I am also having some counselling.

“I think our family’s journey may have been smoother if we’d had mental health support right from the start. It would have made a huge difference to Oliver but it could have helped me as well, particularly when he was in a bad way.”

Macie was only six when Oliver was first diagnosed and began…

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This notice was published: 2023-12-20 13:35:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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