‘Our wish came true’

William Long
William Long
Staff Andrea Pledge, Ellie Hardy, Susan Hazzard and Mary Ramsay celebrating 21 years in Cosham. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Cosham charity shops celebrates 21 years trading

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A MOTHER is taking on the Great South Run to raise money for the charity that helped her son when he was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 10.

Zoe Long, from Southsea, had her world turned upside down when she was given the devastating news that her son William had the disease.

Zoe Long

Zoe Long

William was forced to go through two operations to remove the aggressive tumour, and lost his hair following nine difficult rounds of chemotherapy.

The youngster was eventually diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer that affects children.

Thankfully William, now 12, pulled through and is in remission.

He had the support of the Make a Wish foundation which provided him with his very own ‘wish’ while he was undergoing treatment – to have his own gaming computer in his bedroom.

Zoe, 39, has set herself the challenge of taking on the 10-mile Great South Run in October to support the charity.

Zoe, who is also mum to Eddie, 15, and Esme, 11, said: ‘William went through a horrendous year involving two operations and nine cycles of chemotherapy, which is unthinkable for a 10-year-old.

‘When a lump started to appear on his body, we took him to the doctor but never did we think that we would turn out the way it did.

‘He is thankfully now in remission but at the end of his treatment, William was granted his wish by the foundation.

‘Make a Wish grants all sorts of wishes to children who have life-threatening illnesses and William was given a gaming computer for his bedroom.

‘It was fantastic for him to have some much-needed time and enjoyment while recovering from cancer.’

After William’s recovery, Zoe decided she wanted to take up her own challenge to raise awareness about childhood cancer.

Non-runner Zoe took a risk and signed up to the Great South Run, the world’s leading 10-mile running event, that takes place around Portsmouth and Southsea.

She will join 25,000 other participants across the weekend of October 22-23 at the festival of sport, which also features the Great South Run 5k and the Junior and Mini Great South Run.

Zoe settled for the 10-mile event, in the hope of paying back the charity for all that it had done for William.

She added: ‘My challenge is literally from my own couch to 10 miles!

‘I want to raise money to go in some way to the charity to make sure it can continue its invaluable work.

‘William’s amazing wish really helped to soften the horrendous effects of cancer.’

To help Zoe in her quest, visit her fundraising page justgiving.com/fundraising/Zoe-Long
Join Zoe at the start of the Great South Run on Sunday, October 23. Enter at Greatrun.org/South