A CANCER survivor who was diagnosed with leukaemia on his third birthday is giving back to the charity which gave him some of his ‘greatest memories’.
Louis Williams, 18, who was cured of the disease in 2002, is running the London Marathon in April to raise money for the charity Miracles.
The organisation provides support to families and individuals suffering from serious illnesses.
‘They were great, they offer so many trips,’ said Louis of Orchard Road, Southsea.
‘We’ve been down the River Thames and saw David Blaine in his glass box.
‘He waved to us and at that age something like that is amazing.’
Through Miracles, Louis was given the chance to visit Disneyland, travel to Tenerife, and even flew to Lapland to see Santa’s Grotto.
Now studying criminology at the University of Portsmouth, he has nothing but fond memories of the trips organised by the charity.
‘Miracles has impacted my life and many others,’ said Louis. ‘Being there for my family in a time of need and allowing me to return to normality and the person I am today.’
After taking him to the hospital for a biopsy in 1999, Louis’ parents were told about their son’s illness by doctors, who then put Louis on a course of chemotherapy which would last for three years.
On top of everything else, the diagnosis came on Louis’ birthday.
‘It was awful but they let him go home to celebrate his birthday and we were lucky to have a network of people around.’ said Louis’ mum, Marie Leonard, 52.
During Louis’ treatment, Marie contacted Miracles on the advice of hospital case workers, a decision she considers to be one of the best she ever made.
‘I can’t thank them enough and what I really like is that they don’t just treat the person that is poorly, they support the whole family,’ she said.
‘With the support that they give, even now, they are very caring and considerate.’
Louis had his annual check up last year since being cured in 2002 and now only has to return to hospital every five years.
Theo Ellert, founder trustee at Miracles, said: ‘I was overwhelmed when I heard that Louis wanted to run the London Marathon for us.
‘And I’m so happy we could find a place for him.
‘We have watched him grow from a very sick child into a fine young man who deserves all the support he can get to make miracles happen.’
Despite having less than two months to train for the London Marathon on April 26, Louis is taking the event seriously, joining a gym and the athletics club at his university, and selling his ticket for a holiday with friends he had planned around the time of the marathon.
Marie could not be more proud of her son’s achievements since getting the all-clear.
‘Words can’t describe, he is one of the most amazing people and I couldn’t wish for a more lovely son,’ she said.
‘He never ceases to amaze me.’
Anyone interested in donating should visit justgiving.com/Louis-Williams96