Finn’s story

Finn on a skiing trip

Finn James Morrison was born on May 1st 2002 at UCH in London, and for the first 4 years of his life he was a normal, healthy, fun, loving, curious and outgoing little boy. In September 2006, shortly after starting in Reception at St John’s Primary School, we received the devastating news that our gorgeous little boy had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

On the evening of Friday 13th October 2006, Finn was taken to the Whittington A&E, as he had developed a petechial rash and dark bruising over the previous few days. He had shown no other symptoms and had been his usual bubbly self. However one blood test and several hours later, we were led by a haematology consultant to a quiet room where we were told that Finn’s white blood cell count was very high and that the most likely cause was T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Within 24 hours Finn was transferred to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital where the diagnosis was confirmed.

Initially the doctors were very positive as they told us that Leukaemia in children was now highly curable with 4 out of 5 children being cured. Finn would be placed on a chemotherapy treatment plan that would last for 3 and a half years. The shock for the whole family was immense and began a daily life that revolved around Finn, his treatment, weekly blood tests and lengthy stays in hospital. For the first year Finn spent a great deal of the time either in Great Ormond Street receiving his chemotherapy or in the Whittington Hospital with infections bought about by the damage the chemo did to his immune system. We had to watch our boy endure a host of dehabilitating and nasty side affects including losing the ability to walk. Finn’s resilience and ability to cope with anything the disease or the doctors threw at him amazed us and the fact that despite feeling rotten he was nearly always able to raise a smile and chat away to the medical staff who were helping him.

The first year of treatment was extremely hard on Finn and he spent very little time in school, when he was well enough a lovely lady from the Whittington Hospital School came to the house to give him lessons. At the beginning of October 2007, Finn was placed onto the less intensive maintenance stage of his treatment. He still needed weekly blood tests and regular visits to Great Ormond Street. For a few weeks we saw that Finn’s life would begin to have a semblance of normality and that he would be able to return to school and play with his friends.

Hospital artwork

In November 2007 following a routine clinic visit, we received a telephone call from Great Ormond Street to tell us unusual cells had been found, we knew what this meant. The unusual cells were leukaemic cells. Finn had relapsed on treatment. This meant his prognosis of a cure was no longer very good.

The team at Great Ormond Street decided to try a new chemotherapy drug that had not been used very often in children in the UK. Following this, subject to a match being found, he would need a Bone Marrow Transplant. Neither his parents nor little sister were a match, so a donor was quickly found from the Bone Marrow Registry. This generous individual had agreed to donate their own Bone Marrow to give Finn a final chance of a cure. Following the chemotherapy, which fortunately had very few side effects for Finn, the doctors announced for the first time since diagnosis that Finn was in complete remission, with no detectable disease.

Finn on holiday

At the end of February 2008 Finn entered the Bone Marrow Transplant ward in Great Ormond Street where he received high doses of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Finn spent 7 weeks in an isolation room with no visitors allowed, except for his parents and his Aunty Juls.

At the beginning of April 2008 Finn returned home with a pharmacy worth of medications to help him through the next 6 months, as his new immune systems took hold and strengthened. This was a very happy time for Finn as he quickly recovered from the transplant and gained his strength back. In June 2009 following a routine outpatient visit to the BMT clinic, we got the call that told us that his leukaemia had returned.

Finn in hospital

Finn lost his battle with Leukaemia at home on the 25th August 2009.


To Finn, you are always in our hearts and we miss you every single day.

Love Daddy, Mummy and Evie x