Portsmouth's Ben tackles the Great South Run to say thanks to hospital staff who cared for his son when the five-year-old had leukaemiaÂ
Ben Slater will take on the Simplyhealth Great South Run to support the hospitalÂ ward that cared for his son when he was diagnosed with leukaemia.
The 34-year-old is set to run 10 miles for the Piam Brown Ward in Southampton General Hospital, where his five-year-old son Joseph spent time during his treatmentÂ for blood cancer.
In November 2014, Ben and his wife Claire took Joseph to the GP with an earÂ infection and some pin prick spots on his legs.
Within five minutes following his consultation, he was on his way to the QueenÂ Alexandra Hospital in an ambulance to undergo blood tests.
The family were then given the devastating news that Joseph had leukaemia. HeÂ was then transferred to the Piam Brown Ward, a specialist child oncology ward.
Joseph's went through three years and three months of chemotherapy and theÂ family say the care he received was second to none.
Fortunately Joseph's prognosis was favourable and he is now on the road toÂ recovery, with dad Ben being inspired to raise money for the ward after seeingÂ families there who were less fortunate than themselves.
Ben, 34, said: '˜On arrival to hospital I left our other two children with a nurse while IÂ was directed to another room. I will never forget the look on my wife's face as IÂ entered, waiting to hear news about Joseph.
'˜I didn't even think about the impact the next two minutes would have on my life asÂ I sat down, I remember it feeling like an out of body experience.
'˜For a moment I was standing in the corner of the room watching this couple haveÂ their whole world ripped from underneath them. It's still difficult to describe.
'˜The words 'Joseph has leukaemia' reverberated around my body as we prepared toÂ make the devastating phone calls to tell our loved ones.
'˜In the aftermath, we had so many questions that we wanted answers to. WhenÂ Joseph was transferred to Piam Brown, the support from all of the staff on the wardÂ was first class.
'˜They consistently went above and beyond to care for him, from playworkers,Â admin staff to nurses and doctors.
'˜Fortunately, Joseph's prognosis was favourable and we finally finished three yearsÂ of chemotherapy in January. He is doing well and is enjoying all of the things heÂ couldn't do during treatment, such as swimming.
'˜Having spent time on Piam Brown ward, we became aware that not all families areÂ as lucky as we were and too many children lose their battle.
'˜Money that is donated to the ward buys all the extras, such as sponsored trips for patients to create memories, board games so that brothers and sisters can alsoÂ enjoy family time, all the way to simple things like free tea and coffee for parents toÂ remain at their child's side 24/7.
'˜Without Piam Brown, Joseph's fight may have had a more devastating effect on theÂ family and I want to thank them for that by taking on a challenge.'