A YOUNGSTER who bravely fought off a rare form of cancer after months of gruelling treatment has been given a special award.
Matthew Lindsey, six, has received a Little Star Award from Cancer Research UK, the annual awards given in recognition of the courage shown by children with cancer.
He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma when he was three after he had been admitted to hospital to have his appendix removed.
He faced six months of intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, which left him feeling even worse and with a fear of hospitals.
His dad, Jason, from Highlands Road, Fareham, who nominated him for the award, said: ‘He lost his hair and a lot of weight, but he kept smiling.
‘He has been in remission for three years now and he is slowly getting over the experience.
‘He is even less fearful about going to hospital. He is usually a cheeky chappy but in the days running up to his hospital visits I could see he was quiet.
‘He would cry on the way to the hospital. The treatment made him sick.’
Jason, who also has two daughters – Amy, 10 and Matthew’s twin sister, Katie, added: ‘He understands a bit more now and he is more trusting.’
He still has six-monthly checkups to make sure it hasn’t returned but takes part in the Portsmouth Relay for Life every year with his family to raise money for research into cancer.
Jason, 40, added: ‘He has been through an awful time and I’m very proud of him.’
In the late 1960s, fewer than three in 10 children survived their cancer for at least five years. Today that figure has risen to almost eight in 10.
Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress.
Helen Johnstone, from Cancer Research UK in Hampshire, said: ‘Matthew deserves his Little Star Award. It took a lot of courage for him to go to hospital when he was so frightened of the treatment he had to have.’
Winners get a trophy, a £50 TK Maxx gift card and a certificate signed by celebrities.
The Little Star Awards are open to all under-18s who have cancer or who have been treated for the disease in the last five years, to make a nomination, go to cruk.org/littlestar
To donate £5 to Cancer Research UK’s work into children’s cancers text: ‘STAR58 £5’ to 70070, 100 per cent will go to the charity.