BRAVE four-year-old Charlie Harris is battling a rare form of leukaemia – and now his family are urging kind-hearted fundraisers to give him a much-needed boost.
The toddler was diagnosed with cancer nine weeks ago after overcoming a bad strain of chicken pox.
He is undergoing a three-year treatment programme at Southampton General Hospital and it has turned the lives of his devastated family, of Hilsea, Portsmouth, upside down.
Now they are doing something special for their son and others going through the same as him by raising money for Clic Sargent, a children’s cancer charity providing support for patients and their families.
The worthy cause has a base at the hospital where Charlie is treated.
And one of the quirky ideas he came up with to raise cash is for friends and family to get mini tattoos of a dinosaur footprint – since he loves dinosaurs.
Seventeen people got inked at the weekend at A J Studios Tattoo & Piercing in Horndean with £185 from the costs going to the worthy cause.
Charlie has T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a rare form of leukaemia that affects 200 people a year.
It is more common in older children and teenagers.
Charlie’s mum Marie Harris, who gave up work to care for him, said: ‘His diagnosis was the biggest shock ever.
‘It is every parent’s worst nightmare.
‘To say that the bottom nearly fell out of my world wouldn’t even describe how I felt.’
But Mrs Harris, 39, said she and husband Rob, 40, an army corporal, have been inspired by Charlie’s determination to keep going and not get down.
‘Charlie keeps us going,’ she said. ‘You can’t even describe what it’s like going through this. Things are positive at the moment, but along the way things could happen.
‘If we can help the next family along who have to go through what we are, that would mean a lot to us. The tattoos were Charlie’s idea, and he loves dinosaurs.
‘He said he wanted to do something to help other children.’
Charlie helped to raise £600 for the charity when he took part in this year’s Race for Life on Southsea Common.
Send donations to Miles O’Leary, The News, 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, Western Road, Portsmouth, PO6 3EN.