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Oundle schoolboy raises funds for Addenbrooke's Hospital while recovering from rare pneumonia 'from pet hamster'

A schoolboy is fighting back after contracting a rare form of pneumonia that may have been caused by his sister’s pet hamster.

Jack Sage, aged 10, from Oundle, has been in and out of hospital more than 60 times since last October.

Parents Suzie and David noticed he had developed a worrying rash and his condition then worsened until he developed breathing problems.

Jack Sage in hospital
Jack Sage in hospital

Experts at Peterborough City and then Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge carried out a series of tests, including two bronchoscopies to take tissue samples from Jack’s lungs.

Suzie said they feared it could be a form of leukaemia and the uncertainty took a huge toll on the family.

“It was a horrendous time,” she said. “Not knowing what was going on over such a long period was incredibly difficult.”

Luckily doctors ruled this out, and finally diagnosed an extremely rare condition called eosinophilic pneumonia which is treated with super strong steroids.

“We’ve been told it could have been caused by his sister’s hamster Tango which caused huge upset because his sister Evie adored him,” said Suzie, 52, who works as a teacher.

Tango the hamster with Jack's sister Evie
Tango the hamster with Jack's sister Evie

“The timing seemed right but we can’t be sure. We couldn’t take the risk though and Tango has now gone to live with a nurse from Peterborough hospital called Danielle.”

She added: “The condition is so rare. The only other person who had this kind of reaction was a fireman from 9/11 who had breathed in dust.”

Jack came out of hospital on August 23, two days before his birthday, much to his and his family’s delight.

Even though he is unable to return to Oundle CE Primary School, his teachers have made special arrangements for him to be included so he can attend classes remotely. He even eats lunch with his friends, joining them on a video call with his iPad.

Jack is now hoping to raise £1,350 to help play therapists at Addenbrooke’s fill their bravery boxes, which contain toys and treats for youngsters undergoing gruelling treatments.

Jack Sage bouncing to raise money for Addenbrooke's
Jack Sage bouncing to raise money for Addenbrooke's

“They made the world of difference to him when he was in hospital,” said Suzie. “I asked him why he wanted to help in this way and he said ‘to make the children smile again!’”

A keen mathematician, Jack has worked out when his steroid dose will be brought low enough for him to return to school.

“He thinks it will be October 19 but we’ll have to make sure Addenbrooke’s agree with this!” said Suzie.

She added: “He’s been so positive the whole time, just taking one day at a time and setting himself little targets. He has been so strong and has given us the strength to get through it. It’s made us so close as a family.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to his school and all the NHS staff who have helped him. The doctors and nurses have been incredible and we’re so grateful.”

Jack Sage with pet dog Ted
Jack Sage with pet dog Ted

Jack is now undergoing physiotherapy, with the aid of his mini trampoline and pet cockapoo Ted, and is bouncing as much as possible to raise money.

To help him hit his fundraising target, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/suzanne-sage1

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