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Facebook photo helps diagnose toddler with cancer

Rice, who had shaved his head to match Ted's, stated, “There is a 75% survival rate and the numbers aren’t good enough when it’s your child. That picture probably saved us.” (Photo courtesy: Cascasde News)

Facebook might have received flak for encouraging unhealthy eating habits among teens and rising divorce rate, but the social networking site has helped save a critically ill 4-year-old boy.

Ted from Britain has been diagnosed with lymphocytic leukemia after his father Philip Rice sent the picture his rash to a doctor friend via Facebook in November.

Dr. Barton, who was on Facebook that time, immediately recognized that the rash as a symptom of lymphocytic leukaemia, and told Rice to rush the boy to hospital right away, as the rash was a sign of serious illness.

How parents tracked Ted's cancer?
Ted had started showing signs of illness like general tiredness, odd rash, and nosebleeds but the parents did not take this seriously and thought that he had been warned, as he had just returned from trip to Blackpool.

Rice, an anaesthetic assistant, was putting Ted to bed when he noticed a purplish rash on his face.

He was off colour and not right but I didn’t think much of it at first,” stated the concerned father.

Rice added, “We put him to bed, he had a bit of a cry and my wife Sarah who’s a midwife went to her night shift. But I had that gut feeling when something is wrong.”

This prompted Rice to take the picture of Ted on his mobile phone, which he sent to Dr. Sara Barton, a colleague at Salford Royal Hospital, through Facebook.

Dr. Barton warned of signs of Leukaemia
Dr. Barton, who was on Facebook that time, immediately recognized that the rash as a symptom of lymphocytic leukaemia, and told Rice to rush the boy to hospital right away, as the rash was a sign of serious illness.

"Philip just happened to mention, on Facebook of all places, that his four-year-old son had a non-blanching rash," stated Dr. Barton.

"A very short conversation ensued where we established that Ted should be seen in hospital,” he added.

Ted undergoing treatment
Following Dr. Barton's reaction, Ted was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with blood cancer. Currently, the little boy, who loves football and is now on a wheel chair, is undergoing chemotherapy.

Ted's parents are positive that the instant reaction they received from Facebook has given them a chance to save their ailing child.

Rice, who had shaved his head to match Ted's, stated, “There is a 75% survival rate and the numbers aren’t good enough when it’s your child. That picture probably saved us.”

According to Dr. Barton, lymphocytic leukaemia is a disease “with reasonable odds of cure.” Ted will undergo chemotherapy for three years to get better.

Meanwhile, Ted's parents are promoting and raising funds for The Rainbow Trust, a charity that helps families living with critically ill child.