Family pay tribute to charity as school beckons for Maddox

Maddox Martinez, four, with his parents Gozi Oniha and Jose Martinez. 'Picture: Paul Jacobs (160002-5)
Maddox Martinez, four, with his parents Gozi Oniha and Jose Martinez. 'Picture: Paul Jacobs (160002-5)
John Knighton, medical director of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

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IN ONLY four years, Maddox Martinez has overcome many health hardships .

And thanks to the support of a local charity, he’s ready to begin school in the next few weeks.

The youngster was born with a hole in the heart, and then two years later was diagnosed with liver cancer.

During his stay at Southampton General Hospital, his parents Gozi Oniha, 28, and Jose Martinez, of Grosvenor Street, Southsea, relied upon charity Wessex Heartbeat to provide them with accommodation so they could stay close to their son.

Gozi said: ‘When I was pregnant we found out Maddox had a hole in his heart.

‘Over the next few years we went back and forth to both Southampton General Hospital and Queen Alexandra Hospital.

‘He was in Southampton from six months to just before his third birthday.

‘He has had open heart surgery a few times, and in 2013, it was confirmed he had a tumour on his liver.

‘After the tumour was removed in Birmingham, we were back in Southampton so Maddox could have chemotherapy. Through all that struggle we have been at Heartbeat House.’

The house has 25 bedrooms and is for relatives of patients suffering from heart problems, and is run entirely upon donations.

Next month a fundraising variety show is taking place at Portsmouth Guildhall, with proceeds going to Wessex Heartbeat.

‘It’s truly the home-from-home for us,’ added Gozi.

‘It was our home for 18 months and if we didn’t have that place it would have definitely been a struggle.

‘It has been quite hard and we were very lucky to have stayed at Heartbeat House. I see them as family and we feel really comfortable there.

‘There were a lot of other people there in similar positions going through the same thing.

‘If we didn’t have that support I don’t know where we would have been.’

Maddox is now hoping to start school in the next few weeks.

The charity show takes place on Sunday, February 7 with performances from the Most Wanted Dance Crew, South Zone Dance Crew and the Giselle Academy of Theatre Arts.

It is being hosted by actress Sarah Parish. Tickets cost £16 and are on sale now, visit portsmouthguildhall.org.uk