'Bubbly' Boy, 6, Diagnosed With Rare Blood Cancer After Suffering Nosebleed

A boy was diagnosed with a rare cancer shortly before his fourth birthday after experiencing bruising and a nosebleed.

Anesu Gumbo, who lives in the town of Letchworth, U.K., was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in March 2019, HertsLive reported.

The diagnosis came after his mother took him to the ER following a relentless nosebleed and bruising. Tests revealed that Gumbo had around 10 times the normal amount of white blood cells.

AML is a type of blood cancer where the bone marrow makes a large number of abnormal blood cells. Bone marrow is the soft inner part of bones where new blood cells are produced.

AML is one of the most common types of leukemia in adults. But it is still relatively rare, accounting for only about one percent of all cancers, according to the American Cancer Society.

It tends to affect older people and is uncommon before the age of 45, with the average age of patients being around 68. But the disease can affect people of all ages, including children.

According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 20,240 new cases of AML were recorded in 2021.

The cancer can develop fairly quickly and usually needs to be treated as soon as possible after diagnosis.

After being diagnosed, Gumbo, who is now six, underwent intense chemotherapy that left him fighting for his life in intensive care because of the impact on his body, even though it was helping to treat the cancer. At one point, doctors told the family to prepare for the worst.

"They told me I had to phone Anesu's dad and tell him to come to the hospital immediately because they were doing everything they could for him," his mother, Anastasia Vimbainashe Gumbo, told HertsLive. "He was just not responding and seemed to be getting worse and worse and worse."

The boy managed to pull through and after six months, he completed his course of treatment in the fall of 2019.

Then in April, 2020, Gumbo received a stem cell transplant, which helped to beat back the cancer. But in the fall of 2021, a regular blood test revealed that he had relapsed.

"It was really hard because sometimes when doctors say he's in remission we just relaxed and this weight is taken off our shoulders," the mother said.

"When the doctor says, 'It's back again, I'm really sorry,' it's devastating. So many thoughts go through my mind. What's next? How much more can his little body take? They do give you options. If you don't want to go through the treatment then it's okay to go to a hospice and just give up, but that has never been the situation for us."

The family described the six-year-old as a "strong little fighter" who has continued to remain positive under challenging circumstances.

"Everybody who meets him just loves him. He's so bubbly, he's like a butterfly," she said. "Every time he speaks to somebody, everybody remembers him because he's so infectious, there's joy inside of him, and to see someone who is so beautiful going through that is really difficult."

Toward the end of 2021, the boy was offered a place on a treatment trial and in January, 2022 he received another stem cell treatment, which appears to have been successful so far.

According to the family, the last bone marrow test the boy received showed he had no leukemia cells in his body and he is now recovering in hospital.

In a GoFundMe page set up to raise funds for the family, the mother said: "That's been awesome news for sure. At present, they are trying to wean him off some medication and allow for the process to take place naturally."

A boy in hospital
Stock image showing a boy in hospital. Anesu Gumbo (not pictured) was diagnosed with a rare cancer shortly before his fourth birthday. iStock