THEIR lives were turned upside down when their baby son was diagnosed with leukaemia – but Steven and Celine Bowen refused to give up hope.
Instead the couple started an internet blog to record their family’s inspiring journey as they helped 10-month-old Joseph to battle through the rigours of chemotherapy.
Now they have been so stunned by the response to their story – including a video message from comedian Ricky Gervais – that they are holding a charity auction of signed celebrity goodies to give something back.
Celine, 35, of Worthing Avenue, Gosport, said she was astonished when the family’s blog started getting hundreds of hits every day from as far away as Mongolia.
‘We set it up to try and keep in touch with friends and family,’ she said. ‘It was a way of helping us cope with everything we’ve been through with Joseph. From there it really took off and we’ve had some wonderful support – having Ricky Gervais do a video for us was amazing.’
Steven said since Joseph was diagnosed in April with infant acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a rare form of cancer which only 25 infants contract each year, the couple’s lives have changed completely.
‘For us it’s been like running a marathon with no training,’ he said. ‘We are in hospital most days and it has had a big impact on the whole family.
‘Joseph is just a wonderful boy and a pleasure to be around. Some days he looks absolutely fine, so it’s easy to forget just how poorly he is. Now we are rebuilding our lives one day at a time.’ To read the Bowens’ blog visit josephbowensjourney.blogspot.com.
STARS HELP OUT
IN raising money for cancer charity Clic Sargent, Joseph’s parents have received star support – including a video message from Ricky Gervais.
Along with his comedy partner Stephen Merchant and the actor Warwick Davis, the comedian signed a T-shirt for an online auction which also includes a signed pair of Michael Owen football boots and a signed John Terry England shirt – both donated by Martin Edwards from the Great Britain wheelchair basketball team.
In his message Gervais said: ‘Hi I’m Ricky Gervais, please support Joseph by donating as generously as you can.’
To bid visit josephscharityauction.blogspot.com before Friday September 23. Following contributions from people and businesses enough has now been donated for a second auction – and thanks to their contacts the couple may be able to rely on the support of cricket star Freddie Flintoff.