A DARLINGTON mother has been left shocked after her 12-year-old son’s coronavirus test led to a cancer diagnosis, leaving him needing lifesaving treatment.

Lisa Marie Harry is now encouraging people to seek medical help despite the pandemic.

Cody Lockey was taken to hospital by his mother on Monday, July 27, after three days of pain in his groin and ribs, as well as a fever.

Mum-of-three Mrs Harry thought Cody may have coronavirus but was left shocked and upset when doctors said he was experiencing cancer symptoms.

She said: “The doctors said they didn’t like the look of his skin colour, because he was pale. There were too many white blood cells.”

The diagnosis was officially confirmed on Tuesday when Cody went to Newcastle RVI, home of the cancer-focused Great North Children’s Hospital and where he will now stay until he responds to chemotherapy, which starts on Friday – or he could die within weeks.

Overnight, Cody’s blood count dropped and he needed a blood transfusion.

The Education Village pupil, whose cousin died from bowel cancer two years ago, has acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a cancer with symptoms such as tiredness, bone pain and a fever – also coronavirus symptoms.

Lymphoblastic leukaemia effects bone marrow – Cody’s are “jam packed with cancer cells which are stopping good cells getting through”.

Mrs Harry added: “Chemotherapy is on Friday and has to be done as soon as possible as, if not, he could die within weeks. It hasn’t travelled in his spinal fluids though, which is good.

“It is horrible. We got a coronavirus test because I thought it was that at first, he had a temperature and was coughing but doctors said it was cancer.”

The coronavirus test came back negative.

“Cody is okay,” she added.

“He was sad on Tuesday when the doctor told him that he had cancer. Today, he’s a bit better but is in a lot of pain after the operation.

“He was panicking about getting put to sleep but he now knows it’s not that bad. He’s never had an operation before.

Mrs Harry, who says she hasn’t had time to process the diagnosis, said: “I haven’t had time to think about it. In a way that is a good thing, I think we have caught it quite quickly.

“I keep thinking back to that day and the nurses keep saying that I should pat myself on the back for responding so quickly – I had a gut feeling.

“I would just say to anyone, go and get checked. Follow your instinct. My gut was telling me something else was wrong. Do not hesitate.”

The “cheeky but loving” boy’s siblings have responded differently to the news, with his younger brother Ceejay, aged 10, not fully understanding, while 13-year-old Mia is “very upset”.

The family have all offered to donate bone marrow if they are a match and it is needed.

The children love spending quality time together, Mrs Harry said, with movie nights being a favourite.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up by Cody’s aunt, who describes him as a happy boy, to raise money a trip and something nice for Cody, who will be receiving chemotherapy for three years.