Jean-Christophe Novelli told kids about cancer diagnosis
Jean-Christophe Novelli was forced to tell his sons about their baby brother's cancer diagnosis after their friends started talking about it at school
Jean-Christophe Novelli's son found out his baby brother had cancer at school.
The 55-year-old chef and his partner Michelle Kennedy, 40, were determined to keep Valentino's battle with Neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer which mostly affects babies and young children, a secret until they had come to terms with the diagnosis, but were forced to tell their eight-year-old son Jean the truth about his youngest sibling after his school friends started to talk about it in class.
Speaking on 'This Morning' on Monday (21.11.16), he said: "One day I was driving into school and my eldest said, 'I don't understand what is going on dad, everyone is mentioning Valentino at school.' And then I realised that I've got to tell them the truth. I've got to tell them exactly what is going on. What cancer is. What chemo is."
The couple - who also have four-year-old son Jacques together - saw their world fall apart two weeks ago when they were told their now-10-week-old son was diagnosed with the disease following a gruelling MRI scan and various blood tests.
He explained: "The scan experience was not going well because Valentino had difficulty to breathe. I was doing the school run and Michelle was saying that he was having like a heart attack and then when they got the scan ready, we discover this lump. We never got a straight answer and it took time to get the results and when the word tumour or cancer came up, it took about a week to find out that. And then we found out it was cancer, the next problem was what stage the cancer was at."
Valentino was diagnosed with Stage 4S Neuroblastoma and was told doctors couldn't operate on the lump because it was so close to his windpipe.
He is now undergoing chemotherapy but has a weakened immune system and needs 24-hour care, although Jean-Christophe thinks he's making a vast improvement.
He said of the innocent little one: "He's got no immune system ... He's looked after 24 hours a day ... He's actually doing very well."
Although they've now got the diagnosis, Jean-Christophe and Michelle didn't want to believe their baby had cancer as they have no family history of the disease.
He explained: "On both sides of the family, there is no history of cancer. On one evening, we were talking about cuddling the baby and for a second, we saw a spot on his neck and you don't believe it. You think it is part of the growth, he's taking the milk very well and straight away, we wonder if there's something similar on the other side of the neck but there wasn't. I managed to touch it and I could see it was something unusually hard. And I knew immediately it was not right."