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Cancer legacy

(2 Posts)
valhala Sat 25-Jul-09 22:53:15

Naturally we spend most of our time here discussing our own families but tonight I thought I'd ask you to take a moment to read of a far more recent sad loss of someone who, although not a member of my own family, is as important and who has touched my heart as if they were.

This is Liam's story.

Liam was a 14 year old classmate of my elder daughter. He was an ever-smiling, much loved boy who last month lost a 4 year battle against cancer. A year into his fight, aged just 11, he lost his best friend to the disease but instead of giving up hope he decided to raise funds for the childrens' cancer support charity, CLIC Sargent.

Liam's first fund-raising event was a sponsored swim of a mile. It was a mile which he couldn't even walk, owing to the tumour in his leg. Having had surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy he went into remission for a while, but then he suffered a secondary cancer. Despite this he never complained and undeterred by his own adversity he went on to raise over £320,000 for CLIC Sargent.

This was the kid who couldn't often get to school because he was so ill, who attended in a wheelchair, yet who, having been up all night ill following a particularly gruelling session of chemo went into class and seeing my daughter looking pale never made mention of his own fears but gently and genuinely asked after her.

He was loved by all who met him, praised in the Commons by Gordon Brown and given many awards, including the Child of Courage, the Diana Award and Britain's Kindest Kid. He was dearly loved by the town he lived in and his school-mates, many of whom attended his funeral, where the grief was almost tangible. The whole town aches for his younger brother and brave, dignified parents, who did so much to encourage and facilitate his fund-raising when they could so easily have just accepted the help that CLIC Sargent offered and leave it there.

Tomorrow, in Liam's memory, many members of our town's community are going to carry out a sponsored run for the charity and I am proud to say that both my children will be part of it. We have also added a page to Liam's Dad's page on the charity's website which gives people the opportunity to donate to CLIC Sargent in Liam's name. Having contacted a few organisations we were delighted to receive £100 in vouchers to raffle from a major supermarket and a load of goodies from a trendy company with a business name I semi-pinched when I gave our fund-raising page a title.

We hear so much of unrest and crime in our communities and indifference on the part of big companies that I felt I needed to redress the balance by sharing this tale of such heartwarming support for a family in mourning. I am even more touched by the youngsters in my town who either sobbed their hearts out at Liam's funeral or lined the streets and applauded with tears streaming down teenaged boy's and girl's faces when his cortege came past the school towards his final resting place and who continue to ensure that his memory lives on.

I am not a native of this market town, but a city girl born and bred, yet I think I have finally found a place that I am so very proud to call "home".

whomovedmychocolatestarfish Sun 26-Jul-09 16:02:35

That's a lovely story - thank you for sharing it. Nice that something positive can come from such a tragedy.

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