A 22-year-old mum from Garston was given devastating news after noticing her “smiley” 11-month old son had suddenly stopped crawling and laughing.
Baby Zaki, Caitlin Molyneux’s 13-month-old son, had been a happy and smiling baby up until eight weeks ago.
In September 2021, the 22-year-old mum began to notice that her son “wasn’t himself”.
Courtney, Caitlin’s sister, spoke to the ECHO about the weeks that led up to doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital giving the devastating diagnosis on her young nephew.
According to Courtney, Zaki’s mum had taken him to the GP who diagnosed him as having a v.i.r.a.l infection, however, he didn’t seem to be getting better.
The mum from Toxteth said: “It got to the point where he just wasn’t himself at all. He wasn’t laughing, he stopped crawling, a little bit of everything, he was just lethargic.
She added: “He would just lie there and look at you. Normally he’s a very happy baby, a very smiley baby, and he just sort of stopped laughing and smiling. He just really wasn’t himself at all.”
Scans at the hospital revealed a mass on the 11-month-old’s heart. A further biopsy was done, which showed the full seriousness of Zaki’s devastating condition.
Baby Zaki was diagnosed as having a Thymoma, a l.i.f.e threatening t.u.m.o.u.r that had wrapped itself around the young boy’s heart and was creating pressure on his internal organs. The tumour had also collapsed his windpipe.
Doctors had to give the family even more heartbreaking news, telling them the ᴛᴜᴍᴏᴜʀ was inoperable due to its size.
Courtney said: “They said it was the whole size of his chest, it was really big.
“He’s the only baby in literature who has been diagnosed with this.
“Alder Hey said there was a little girl or boy in Paris who was four with this. They were the youngest at the time but now Zaki is; at the time he was 11 months.”
Doctors at Alder Hey decided the best course of action was to try and shrink the ᴛᴜᴍᴏᴜʀ so that it was small enough to operate on.
Zaki is now on his third course of chemotherapy. The family hope they will received some good news telling them the medication has shrunk the ᴛᴜᴍᴏᴜʀ enough so that it can be removed surgically.
Courtney has set up a ɢᴏғᴜɴᴅᴍᴇ page for Caitlin, Zaki, and his two year old sister Zahra, to help the family out at this difficult time.
“We were all devastated – nothing like this has ever really happened in our family. Obviously we’ve had ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜs in the family but nothing to do with children being ill like this, it was a big big shock for all of us.”, Courtney added.
On the ғᴜɴᴅʀᴀɪsɪɴɢ page, Courtney paid tribute to her sister’s strength as a mum in the face of her son’s frightening diagnosis.
She said: “Everyone who knows my sister Caitlin knows how strong she has been and that her children are everything to her. Many friends and family have asked how they can help so I have created this page to help ease the financial burden of ᴄᴀɴᴄᴇʀ.
“Within this time, Caitlin has also moved house and is creating a beautiful home for our miracle to go home to. Those of you who know Zaki, know he is the most lovable, funny and sweet little boy and he is fighting this ʜᴏʀʀɪʙʟᴇ ᴅɪsᴇᴀsᴇ.
“From myself and my family, we greatly appreciate your support, kind wishes, donations and prayers for Zaki’s long road to recovery and can’t thank you enough for you support during this time. Thank you.”