How a six-year-old with cancer became a scientist for a day
Six-year-old Kyan Higgs from Eastbourne got to don a mini lab coat and use a microscope in a special journey to make his cancer treatment less scary.
Kyan has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and, because of his illness, he has to have a lot of blood samples.
This time, with the help of hospital pathology staff and a charity called Harvey’s Gang, Kyan got to see what happens to his blood sample when it comes to the laboratory.
During his tour of the laboratory Kyan got to load his own blood sample into the analyser, look down a microscope to see a magnified image of his blood and draw a picture of it.
He also got to learn how blood is selected for transfusion and watched biomedical scientists make a blood film of his sample.
At the end of the visit he received a certificate, a goodie bag and a lab coat to take home funded by the Institute of Biomedical Scientists – something he was particuarly excited about.
Kyan said to his mum: “When I get home I can put my new coat on and tell all my teddy bears about it.”
Kyan’s mum, Lia Higgs said: “Kyan is a very brave boy. He often has to have injections and blood samples taken.
“So this was a great opportunity for him to put on his own mini lab coat and see what happens.
“He particularly liked the big lab with the shaking blood machine. It was a great experience for him.”
Harvey’s Gang is a charity which invites youngsters with cancer and other serious illnesses to become trainee biomedical scientists for the day and tour pathology laboratories with their families. It is being rolled out across many hospitals nationally.
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust in conjunction with Harvey’s Gang is now offering this opportunity to other poorly children.
Transfusion practitioner Claire Barnes said: “We are delighted to be able to offer Kyan an opportunity to see for himself what happens to his blood in the laboratory.
“This initiative is a great way for children to gain a greater understanding of why we take blood samples from them.
“My thanks to Sally Richardson who has enabled and supported me to up with Harvey’s Gang and the pathology lab staff involved in making this happen.”