A FATHER from Westhoughton is begging people to listen to NHS advice about coronavirus to protect his family.

Rob Gamble, 39, and his family are self-isolating for 12 weeks to protect five-year-old Sophie, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in August 2019.

The brave youngster is going through chemotherapy for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, which lowers her immune system and makes her more susceptible to infection.

The Bolton News:

Rob said: "People are not appreciating the seriousness of the situation, not only for themselves but for other people who are in the higher risk groups.

"I'm asking people to follow the government guidelines for self distancing.

"It is massively important for my family and for others too."

He made the plea after seeing posts on social media where people disregarded the advice issued by the NHS to protect vulnerable people in the community.

Alongside his wife Lisa, 42, and 14-year-old stepson Jack, Rob has finished the his first week in isolation.

The Bolton News:

The process hasn't been easy, and the family have relied on stream services and crafts to keep themselves entertained.

He added: "It is very scary. We are doing our bit to keep our daughter safe from this virus we just wish that other people would too.

"It's a scary enough time already with chemo without this too."

"Please think of others, people you may not know but could be massively affected by this virus."

According to the NHS, some people with cancer are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they are infected with COVID-19.

Sophie falls into this higher risk group as she is undergoing treatment.

Her type of cancer also increases her risk, as it affects white blood cells, the body's defence against illness.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia leads to large numbers of these important cells being released before they're ready, when they're less effective at fighting infection.

The Bolton News:

In addition to following the guidelines, Rob has also asked for a hand restoring his garden so Sophie can play outside when the weather improves.

The outdoor space was supposed to be a project for him last summer, but Sophie's diagnosis threw his work schedule off track.

Anyone able to help Rob with creating a patio at the bottom of his garden can contact him on Twitter, @Robdgamble.