HIS smile is utterly infectious and can light up any room.
Little Quinn Martin is a typical, fun-loving two-year-old who is always up to high jinx and loves nothing more than fooling around with his grandparents.
Except there’s a crucial difference.
Quinn and his granny have been diagnosed with cancer.
Despite the dual diagnosis, the youngster’s glowing grin has never faded and grandmum Elaine Downie, 49, is convinced his heartwarming smiles are going to bring them both through this chapter.
“My lovely wee grandson is teaching me how to survive,” said Elaine, who has come to see the wee bundle of love as her rock throughout her ordeal.
Doctors dropped the breast cancer bombshell on Elaine 10 days after telling Quinn’s mum Janine, 26, that her son had leukaemia.
In the midst of it all, Janine has been a tower of strength.
“I was heartbroken more for my family than me,” Elaine said of her diagnosis.
“My daughter is having to cope with a child and mum with cancer.”
Amid the darkness of being diagnosed with such a horrible disease, both family members have learned to draw strength from one another.
Both have been left without any hair as a result of the chemotherapy they are receiving.
But, despite the constant trips to hospitals, a smile is rarely far from Quinn’s face.
Elaine, though, is worried about the toll the dual strain will take on her daughter.
The doting granny, of East Calder, West Lothian, said: “My daughter is coping… but it’s my lovely wee grandson who is teaching us all how to survive.
“Together, both of us will make it through this awful ordeal.
“He is smiling his way through the treatment.”
Quinn was diagnosed on February 28 after complaining to his mum he was tired. His legs were also sore and he had bruises.
Concerned, Janine took him to a GP, who thought it was an inflammation and prescribed Calpol.
Days later, she received a call from the playgroup Quinn goes to. He had become seriously unwell and had been rushed to St John’s Hospital, Livingston.
Blood tests revealed leukaemia.
“Doctors broke the news gently by saying there were bad cells in his blood,” said Janine.
“We asked what he meant and a doctor replied, ‘leukaemia’.
“Quinn’s dad Aiden broke down. I said, ‘You’ve got the wrong child’. But it was true. Our lovely wee boy had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and we were devastated.
“No one expects their child to get cancer.”
Meanwhile, Elaine was experiencing worrying breast symptoms and was also referred to St John’s Hospital.
Tests revealed she had a growing cancer and needed immediate surgery.
“My first thought was ‘not me’,” she said, following her March 10 diagnosis.
Her mind was racing, not over what might be, but how she was going to explain her diagnosis to Janine, knowing what little Quinn was already going through, and concerns for her other daughter Iona, 14.
“We dreaded adding to the distress we were all going through with Quinn’s leukaemia,” she added.
“So we decided to keep it quiet for a few days.
“Quinn was coming home from hospital and we thought we would wait a few days and let everyone settle in before breaking the news.
“I dreaded telling our girls.
“If we could have kept it from them we would have. But there is no way you can hide cancer and the side-effects of treatment.”
Janine remembers: “Mum and dad called us into the living room saying they had something to tell us.
“I didn’t like the sound of that and braced myself for bad news, but it was still like a bolt out of the blue.
“I felt cancer was coming at us from all sides and it was horrible. First Quinn, and then mum.
“I knew mum was undergoing tests for a breast inflammation but thought antibiotics could take care of it.
“I have taken it in but feel so much for my wee sister Iona.
“It’s a lot for someone that age to cope with.”
Brave toddler Quinn will require chemotherapy until 2019, Janine has been told.
But the family hope he will be able to attend nursery and school.
“Our lives will continue as normally as possible,” she insists.
“Quinn is a wonderful wee son who lets nothing get him down.
“He keeps us all laughing.”
When Quinn lost his hair his dad Aiden and grandad David, 50, a civil servant, shaved theirs too.
Janine and Iona shaved theirs at the side in a fashionable style.
“We have tried to make life as normal as possible for him,” Elaine said.
“We are all baldies together.”
Crucial to find more donors
The Downies are using the battle against cancer to recruit blood donors.
The family members carry Scotland’s rarest blood group, B Type, shared by fewer than 10% of the population.
Elaine is B- and David, Janine and Iona are B+.
“If there is one positive thing to come from our cancer it’s our drive to recruit more blood donors,” said Elaine, who has been a blood donor for 10 years and has clocked up 30 lifesaving donations.
“Ours is a rare one which I would like to think I could trace back to the Spanish Armada.
“It’s much commoner in the Iberian Peninsula than Scotland.
“Spanish Armada ships were wrecked off the Scottish coast and we may be distant descendants of the crew.”
Last week, the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service had only only five days’ supply of B- and 10 days’ supply of B+ left in store.