Paediatric doctor has written a children's book after being inspired by his own son

A paediatric doctor has written a children's book after being inspired by his own son.

The fiction book covers the difficult topics of illness and cancer in a toddler-friendly way.

Aria Nikjooy, from Sale, Greater Manchester, was diagnosed with a grade 4 cerebellar medulloblastoma in November 2018, after suffering from crippling headaches, which he initially put down to tiredness and stress.

Aria, a dad-of-one, went through brain surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy and the tumour was kept at bay until March 2020, when it came back and he underwent a second craniotomy.

Aria was first diagnosed in November 2018

Devastatingly, a second recurrence came in July 2020 resulting in another operation and more cancer treatment.

Aria was first diagnosed in November 2018

As part of his recovery and personal therapy, Aria turned to writing and decided to pen a children’s story book to read with his three-year-old son.

The illustrated book, titled Eddie and the Magic Healing Stone, is loosely based on the themes of illness and cancer.

It tells the story of Eddie the dinosaur, who finds himself in trouble when he goes out for a walk. It’s up to Larry the Lion to find the Magic Healing Stone and save his dad before it's too late. This book is about Eddie and Larry’s special relationship and gently introduces the concept of sickness in a parent.

Aria Nikjooy

“I hope little ones will enjoy it regardless of whether they are dealing with an ill parent or not."

Eddie and the Magic Stone's front cover

"It is also just an entertaining story for young children, full of magic and silly characters.

Aria spent two-and-half months in Salford Royal Hospital recovering from his first brain surgery.

The operation left him with debilitating after effects, including profuse nausea and vomiting lasting several weeks, which doctors struggled to manage with medication.

He also struggled to speak and had to learn to walk again.

During his hospital stay he was transferred to The Christie, where he went through six gruelling weeks of radiotherapy as an in-patient.

He was finally discharged in January 2019, and began an intense course of chemotherapy.

Aria added: "I’d had three out of six cycles of chemo when I started to think enough was enough.

"Although I seemed to be getting better overall, there are some nasty long-term effects from chemo that I was eager to avoid, like infertility or an increased risk of future cancer.

"My cancer is a rare beast that usually affects children, not adults.

Aria after his hair loss

"Therefore, there isn’t much research into what treatments work, and which don’t for me.

"I eventually decided to stop after four cycles.

In November 2019, a year after his diagnosis, Aria was able to return to work on the paediatric rheumatology ward at the Royal Manchester on a part-time basis.

Only a few months later, however, in March 2020, his cancer came back.

As the UK was going into lockdown, Aria’s consultant instructed him to self-isolate, as he was deemed ‘high-risk’.

He had a second brain surgery and recovered well, returning home after just three nights in hospital.

Once home he began another course of radiotherapy, followed by a different type of chemotherapy, to try to prevent any tumour regrowth.

Aria always had an interest in writing, and picked it back up after his son inspired him

Devastatingly, the treatment didn’t work and Aria’s tumour came back again in July 2020.

Aria recovered well from his second ‘lockdown’ brain surgery.