Mother's heartbreak as BOTH identical twin boys are diagnosed with leukaemia

  • Logan and Regan Skinner, now 6, were both diagnosed with leukaemia
  • Started to bruise easily alerting mother Casey who took Logan to doctors
  • Regan later developed an identical bruise to Regan and was diagnosed 
  • Logan has finished chemotherapy while Regan will end course next month 

A mother has spoken of her devastation after both of her twin boys were diagnosed with leukaemia.

Logan and Regan Skinner, six, developed the devastating disease within a year of each other after their skin started to go yellow and began bruising easily.

They were diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which attacks the bone marrow and progresses rapidly.

Now after four years of treatment, Logan has finished his chemotherapy with Regan set to end the treatment next month.

The pair will now have regular checks including blood tests every four weeks for the next three years but doctors are hopeful they have both beaten the disease.

Logan during treatment
Regan during treatment

Twins Logan (left) and Regan Skinner (right) were both diagnosed with diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia within a year of each other

The brothers celebrated their sixth birthday recently after an intensive course of chemotherapy course which Logan (left) has finished and Regan is due to finish next month

The brothers celebrated their sixth birthday recently after an intensive course of chemotherapy course which Logan (left) has finished and Regan is due to finish next month

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is a cancer of the white blood cells. 

The causes are not yet known but studies have found identical twins and brothers and sister are at an increased risk of the disease.  

Logan, who is six minutes older than his brother, first became ill when he was two.

Ms Skinner took him to doctors who diagnosed him with the disease in August 2012.

During his treatment, he developed potentially deadly septicaemia and thought she was going to lose him.

‘One of the worst moments was when Logan was diagnosed with septicaemia,’ she said.

‘I just remember when I took him into hospital and when you see the nurses panicking and they are screaming for the doctors. We thought he might die now.

‘Luckily they got him straight on treatment that’s when you realise how serious it is.

‘You think it won’t happen to me or my kids and then you realise that you are not invincible and that’s so scary.’

Ms Skinner, who lives with her partner Darren, 24, and his two sons, said Logan’s diagnosis put a terrible burden on the family, from Boston, Lincolnshire.

But she said it became doubly hard a year later when Regan started bruising easily too.

Identical twin Logan, pictured in 2012 before and after surgery, was diagnosed with leukaemia shortly before his brother Regan

Identical twin Logan, pictured in 2012 before and after surgery, was diagnosed with leukaemia shortly before his brother Regan

'Regan was not unwell when he was diagnosed but he had got an identical bruise to Logan

‘Regan was not unwell when he was diagnosed but he had got an identical bruise to Logan

Mother Casey Skinner says both boys' diagnosis put a strain on the family but that they hope to be over the worst of it with treatment having been successful

Mother Casey Skinner says both boys’ diagnosis put a strain on the family but that they hope to be over the worst of it with treatment having been successful

Talking about Logan she said: ‘He had different infections for example in the ear and then I noticed that he was bruising a lot,’ she said.

‘I was playing with him one day, as he was swinging between my legs he hit his face and the bruise came up straight away.

‘The next morning he was bright yellow and I thought he may be anaemic – it turns out he was anaemic but that was due to the leukaemia.’

That day the doctors compared the twins’ skin colour and sent Logan straight to Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.

The social work student, who became pregnant with the pair when she was 18, said the diagnosis happened differently with Regan.

But nevertheless, it was not long before their worst fears were confirmed. 

She said: ‘Regan wasn’t unwell when he was diagnosed but he had got an identical bruise to Logan.

‘I went to get him tested and they said he had leukaemia too, so I had to go to the Queen’s Medical Centre hospital in Nottingham to get that confirmed as well.

‘They both had to have a test to see how high risk or low risk they are. Logan was high risk so he had to have a more intense treatment.

Both dressed up as Captain America, the Make a Wish Foundation is supporting the family with a trip for Florida 

Both dressed up as Captain America, the Make a Wish Foundation is supporting the family with a trip for Florida

‘He was really bad – it made him really ill. I remember one day as soon as they pressed the go button on the chemotherapy he was so sick everywhere.

‘I remember saying if Regan does get it I won’t be as scared. It’s not just life or death, you have to sit in a big hospital and I thought second time round I would be okay dealing with it.

‘When I was told Regan did have the disease it hit me so hard. I wondered whether I would be able to look after both of them – but I got through it.’

Logan was given six months of chemotherapy and Regan was given four months treatment, which he shall be ending shortly.

The boys will also have to have a lumbar puncture, where fluid is drained from the spine, every 12 weeks to continue to fight their illness.

Doctors will monitor them closely as the cancer is most likely to come back in the first year.

But it has a high survival rate, around 70 per cent, which improves the younger the patient is. 

The family have been supported by charity Make a Wish Foundation which is paying for the family to go to Disneyland, in Florida. 

WHAT IS ACUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC LEUKAEMIA

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is specifically a cancer of the immature lymphocyte cells, pictured

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is specifically a cancer of the immature lymphocyte cells, pictured

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is a cancer of the white blood cells.

All white blood cells are made in the bone marrow.

There are two different types of white blood cells – lymphocytes and myeloid cells.

They work together to fight infection.

Normally, white blood cells develop, repair and reproduce in an orderly and controlled way.

But in leukaemia, the process gets out of control and the cells continue to divide in the bone marrow, but do not mature.

These immature dividing cells fill up the bone marrow and stop it from making healthy blood cells.

As the leukaemia cells fail to mature, they cannot work properly to fight infections.

This leads to an increased risk of infection, and because the bone marrow cannot make enough healthy red blood cells and platelets, symptoms such as anaemia and bruising can occur.

There are four main types of leukaemia:

  • acute lymphoblastic
  • acute myeloid 
  • chronic lymphocytic 
  • chronic myeloid 

Chronic forms of the disease tend to affect adults and are very rare in children.

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is specifically a cancer of the immature lymphocytes, called lymphoblasts or blast cells.

The causes are not yet known but studies have found identical twins and brothers and sister are at an increased risk of the disease.

These immature dividing cells fill up the bone marrow and stop it from making healthy blood cells (pictured)

These immature dividing cells fill up the bone marrow and stop it from making healthy blood cells (pictured)

Symptoms are similar to other forms of leukaemia, and include:

  • a child becoming lethargic and tired due to anaemia, caused by a lack of red blood cells
  • bruising
  • bleeding taking longer to stop, due to low levels of platelets, which help blood clot
  • some children suffer infections because of low levels of white blood cells
  • a child is likely to feel generally unwell
  • suffer aches and pains
  • swollen lymph glands 

Source: Macmillan Cancer Support

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