Longbenton boy, 12, who thought he had long Covid diagnosed with rare cancer

Marianne Allan and 12-year-old Rocco, who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. Credit: BPM Media

A 12-year-old boy who was thought to have long Covid has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Rocco Allan, from Longbenton, had flu-like symptoms and was sleeping a lot, which his mum said was completely out of character.

Doctors thought the youngster from Tyneside was suffering from long Covid.

But Rocco was later diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Hodgkin lymphoma and has been receiving treatment at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle.

Hodgkin lymphoma, which affects about 2,100 people a year, is a form of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels and glands spread throughout the body.

Rocco's mum Marianne Allan said: "Rocco has always struggled to sleep due to his autism so it was very surprising when that was all he wanted to do.

"I could barely keep him awake, he wasn't eating, and this was so far out of character for him that we took him to the doctors."

She added: "They said that he had flu symptoms and originally thought he was suffering with long Covid due to this however that wasn't the case. He was eventually diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma which was spreading through his blood.

"He started on treatment as soon as possible at the RVI, and he has been so brave through all of this, but his health has been declining ever since."

Ms Allan has been supported by family friend and former student at Longbenton School, Ebony Cleghorn, 16.

Ebony said: "She has done so much to help and support me at school and she is the most selfless person even when she is going through something like this. So when I heard about her son's diagnosis I wanted to help like she did for me."

She has completed a 15,000ft skydive and raised £2,000, which has been split between the family, cancer charity Daft as a Brush and St Oswald's Hospice.

Thanking her, Ms Allan added: "Ebony is a special girl and I'm overwhelmed that she has shown such kindness.

"Her family have been so caring and I have such fond memories of teaching her and her siblings. Rocco is grateful and cannot believe that people have cared so much."

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