A BRAVE schoolboy is determined to keep up his studies – despite being struck down with a life-threatening blood cancer.
Brave Ethan Wilson, 15, was studying for his mock GCSE exams at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College in Hartlepool when he became unusually lethargic and feeling generally unwell.
His concerned family thought his condition may have been due to the stress of the exams, but as it gradually worsened they took him to his GP, who initially believed there may have been something wrong with his stomach.
But blood tests at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, revealed the shock news that Ethan had acute myeloid leukaemia, which is an aggressive form of blood cancer.
Since his diagnosis in November last year, the plucky teen has started chemotherapy and is now onto his third course of gruelling treatment. If the treatment is unsuccessful, it may lead to Ethan needing a bone marrow transplant.
Today, his dad Stuart Halliwell, 47, spoke to the Mail about the plight of his son and gushed with pride as to how the youngster is dealing with his ordeal.
He said: “When we got the news it knocked me for six, but now I’m just praying that everything works out.
“I’m amazed as a father how my son has coped and reacted with this. He’s dealt with it so maturely, not how you would imagine a 15-year-old to cope.
“This has made me realise what life is all about. You should never ever take anything for granted.”
He added: “Ethan has led just a normal, healthy life up until this, apart from having a benign tumour removed from his ear 12 months before he was diagnosed with the leukaemia.
“You just never think anything like this is going to happen to your child.”
Despite his condition, Ethan, from the Rift House area, is determined to keep up with his studies with a home tutor as he is too ill to attend school where the risk of infection is too great.
He also has his sights set on studying IT at Hartlepool College of Further Education when he leaves school later this year.
Stuart, a plant process operator from Rugby Street, Hartlepool, said: “English Martyrs School have been fantastic. The teachers have been to see him, and one teacher even came to see him in hospital.
“The support from his friends has also been absolutely brilliant, because Ethan’s been a bit down that he can’t be with his friends at school participating. They’ve been to see him as well which is great.”
Instructors and members of the John Dawson Close Combat Arena, in George Street, Hartlepool – where Ethan is a member and his dad an instructor – have also rallied round in support and are carrying out a 10-mile run around Summerhill on Sunday, March 23, to raise money for the Newcastle Cancer Trust.
One of the organisers, Simon Craigs, 25, a dad-of-four, said: “Ethan is such a lovely lad and we were all gutted when we heard the news.
“We do a run for charity every year and this year Ethan suggested we do it to raise money for the Newcastle Cancer Trust.
“There’ll be about 20 of us doing it, adults doing 10 miles and the kids a shorter run, and we’d love as much support from people as possible.”