PARENTS Steven and Celine Bowen have been overwhelmed by support given to them from friends, families and even celebrities after their son was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Joseph, who is now 15 months old, has infant acute lymphoblastic leukaemia – a rare form of cancer affecting only 25 infants a year.
After Joseph was diagnosed the couple set up an internet blog to record their son’s journey as he went through gruelling chemotherapy.
The response was fantastic as celebrities such as footballers Michael Owen and John Terry, along with actor Warwick Davis, signed goodies which were auctioned off.
Now a family friend is getting behind the family and has organised a fundraising event for Clic Sargent – a charity that helps children battling with cancer and their families.
Mum Celine, 36, of Gosport, said: ‘Joseph was about five and a half months old and he had a cough that wouldn’t go away.
‘We took him to a GP and he was diagnosed with a chest infection and was given antibiotics.’
But when they didn’t seem to have an effect, his parents took him back to the doctors.
He was then referred to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, where blood tests revealed the tiny tot had leukaemia.
‘It was quite weird when he was diagnosed – we just went into autopilot,’ added Celine.
‘You’re just in and out of places constantly and you try your best to lead a normal life.’
The couple also have Isaac, six, who had to come to terms with a change in lifestyle.
Celine added: ‘Isaac struggled at times because he didn’t always have his mum around in the past year.
‘But now we’re more used to this lifestyle and managing better.
‘Joseph is now in his “maintenance” stage, which should last 18 months.
‘During this time he will be taking oral medication and visits to the hospital will begin to become less frequent.’
To celebrate Joseph’s recovery, family friend Gary Morgan, of Portsmouth, is holding an event tomorrow evening.
The 49-year-old said: ‘Celine and Steve are close friends of mine and I want to help with the fundraising.
‘We also want to do all we can to raise the profile of the charity – the more people hear about it the better it is for them.’
The fundraising event takes place on at Kingsleys Bar, Osborne Road, Southsea, at 8pm.
Tickets cost £5 and can be bought on the night.
Entertainment includes a disco, buffet and raffle prices such as football memorabilia.