'No one will ever replace Luca but Nico is a blessing. It means we can share happy times again.' Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones on new baby joy
19:38 GMT, 9 July 2012
The arrival of a new baby should mean a time of joy and excitement for a young couple.
But for Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones the birth of a baby boy earlier this year was also tinged with sadness.
Newborn Nico should have had a big
brother to welcome him home from the hospital, but Brad and wife Dani
Lawrence lost their son Luca to a rare form of leukemia just five
A blessing: The couple introduce baby Nico
A keen footballer who loved watching his father play, brown-haired Luca was Brad’s son from a previous relationship.
was just six when he died after battling through 18months of treatment
for acute myeloid leukemia, including a harrowing blood cell
Remembering the day his first son was diagnosed 30-year-old Brad told the Sunday Mirror: ‘It’s one of those phone calls you just can’t imagine happening.
Happy memories: A family trip to the seaside with Dani and Luca
Brave: In hospital in Marseilles where Luca was often kept in isolation because of fears over infection
‘When you hear the word cancer it’s terrifying. I went numb. Suddenly nothing else – the World Cup, football – mattered.’
Brad was in Johannesburg training for the World Cup with his national
team and immediately flew to France where Luca lived with his mother
The prognosis was grim.
The couple spent as much time as possible with Luca as he underwent treatment.
a few months Luca had undergone a blood stem-cell transplant but six
months later doctors declared that the transplant had failed and little
Luca was too ill to have another.
‘It was awful.’ says Brad ‘The medicines were so unpleasant. He’d be begging us to stop. It broke our hearts seeing him so sad.
Mini me: Tiny Nico already in a Liverpool kit aged just four weeks
'We never cried in front of him but
sometimes it was overwhelming. I’d go out and break down. I couldn’t
stand seeing him in pain.’
When Dani, a model and a physiotherapist,
fell pregnant the couple decided to tell Luca after just six weeks
hoping the news would cheer him up and aware that their time together as
a family was limited.
They had already talked with Luca about
becoming a big brother one day and he was delighted with the news, smothering
his step-mother in kisses and cuddles when she told him he would have a
little brother or sister soon, demanding to know where the baby was just
a few days later before Brad and Dani explained how a pregnancy works.
He even drew pictures of the family for the new arrival.
Unfortunately Luca didn’t live to meet his baby brother, losing his fight against cancer just over two months later.
Dani has the pictures ready to frame them for Nico when he’s a bit older.
This is one way that the couple hope that he will get to learn about he brother that he didn’t get chance to meet.
His pictures are around the house and Brad still has lots of his favourite toys.
about the feelings he has about welcoming a new son so soon after
saying goodbye to another brad says: ‘Having a newborn baby to look
after has given us a focus, something positive in our lives again.
one will ever replace Luca but Nico is a blessing. It means we can share
happy times again.’
For more information about bone-marrow donation see www.anthonynolan.org