A Wallington mum has spoken out of the heartbreak of losing her "beautiful baby boy" just days before his first birthday.

Suzanne Yardley said time stood still when her son Max Henry McHugh was born on August 29, 2018.

"We were over the moon he was absolutely perfect in every single way," she said.

"Max breastfed incredibly well from the minute he was born, we were so happy to watch our baby boy grow into such a handsome little character, always full of smiles and laughter. Everyone would always comment on his beautiful big blue eyes. We were living out our happily ever after."

But then a few months later, Max's breathing started to change.

Your Local Guardian:

Suzanne and her partner took him to A&E where they were told that he had a severe case of pneumonia.

But Max's condition continued to deteriorate and Suzanne felt something wasn't right.

"As we suspected this was not pneumonia, nor was it any kind of infection, it was, in fact, a build-up of fluid already collapsing his left lung and spreading rapidly over the right, it needed to be drained urgently or he was going to die," she added.

"We watched on as doctors gathered around the computer screen, phone calls were going backwards and forwards, minutes seemed like hours. Max was in a bad way.

"Evelina hospital came to the rescue, they were escorted by squad car to save Max’s life.

"The consultant looked me in the eye and told us to prepare to say our goodbyes as the procedure was extremely risky."

After a two-hour procedure Max had been saved, but the next day they went for a CT scan which showed he had a large tumour growing in his chest.

Max was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital where he underwent various tests and operations.

Your Local Guardian:

Two weeks Max was diagnosed with an ExtraRenal Rhabdoid Tumour, a highly malignant childhood cancer.

"We never really knew what actual fear felt like until that day," Suzanne continued.

Treatment began right away. A new Hickman line was inserted along with two more chest drains and then things started to change, they began to see improvement and after seven long weeks they made it out of intensive care.

"Max’s health continued to improve, the nasty tumour was shrinking, and the fungal infection was on its way out," she said.

"He was smiling again, laughing and dancing, he had everyone on the ward doting on him."

But then on July 11, their world came crashing down.


Max had been for a CT scan that morning to confirm some details for surgery, but surgery was now no longer an option, nor was the high dose as the tumour had grown.

"We requested to go home and enjoy what precious time we had left, we were constantly researching alternative treatments, we tried everything, we had friends all over the world trying to help," Suzanne said.

"We did get to enjoy some precious time at home and created memories that we will treasure forever."

When Max began to deteriorate he was taken to Christopher’s Hospice for children in Guilford.

But then on August 11, he passed away.

Since that fateful day, they have raised more than £13,000 for the charities which helped Max throughout his life and Suzanne is urging anyone who can donate, to do so.

"I intend to keep going with this fundraising as although Max's journey is over I know it is not for many other children and families," she finished.

"Childhood cancer is not rare, I will never un feel what we had to through, the hurt haunts me every day reliving painful memories and knowing that the suffering still continues to go on.

"You don't realise how important charity is until you need it."