A BRAVE three-year-old and his mum are urging women to enter Race for Life.
Young cancer battler Lucas Thorpe and mum Jodie Rothwell will be guests of honour at a 5k Race for Life.
Ms Rothwell said: “I’m so grateful for the research that helped Lucas, and now I want to help others by supporting Cancer Research UK’s work and taking part in Race for Life.
“He is an amazing little boy and it was joy to see him start pre-school when we didn’t know if he would even survive the night at one point.”
Lucas, from Hindsford, Atherton, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when he was 11 months old.
He had been a healthy baby until he became lethargic and developed repeated high temperatures, vomiting and diarrhoea when he was about eight months old.
Despite repeated visits to the GP and hospital, mum Jodie was unable to discover what was wrong.
Lucas, who has older siblings, Molly and Jordan, was referred to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for an MRI scan.
Doctors found a mass on his bladder and, three days later, Lucas’s kidneys failed and he had to be kept in the high-dependency unit until he was stable enough to undergo surgery.
The tumour was removed from his bladder, but it had already spread to his urethra and prostate.
A biopsy of the removed tumour revealed Lucas had rhabdomyosarcoma — only the second time doctors had ever seen the rare form of cancer in a baby.
Lucas had chemotherapy, but also needed specialist radiotherapy — proton beam therapy. His organs were too immature to cope with standard radiotherapy, so he was referred to the USA for further treatment.
The family travelled to Jacksonville in December, 2011. But they flew out immediately after Lucas’s chemotherapy and his compromised immune system led to him developing pneumonia and septicaemia two days after arriving.
Lucas fought for his life in the intensive care unit.
At one point, his parents Jodie and Dale were told he was not expected to last the night.
Against the odds, Lucas survived, despite nearly losing his right arm and leg. He was placed in a hyperbaric chamber and leeches were used to oxygenate his blood.
The septicaemia caused Lucas to lose half of his right foot and the tips of his toes and fingers.
After returning to the UK, Lucas underwent further chemotherapy. He still has regular check-ups and has learned to adapt to his missing fingertips.
He recently joined the pre-school at St George’s Central Primary School in Tyldesley, and mum Jodie is studying to become a nurse.
Jen Ward, Cancer Research UK’s Leigh events manager, said: “We are thrilled that Jodie and Lucas will be our special guests at Race for Life in Leigh on June 8.”
This year, organisers need 1,300 women and girls to stride out at Pennington Flash in Leigh and help to raise £80,000.
Bolton’s Race For Life takes place on Sunday, July 6, in Leverhulme Park.
To enter Race for Life Bolton go to raceforlife.org or call 0845 6006050.