BRAVE Sonny wood was determined to step over the finish line at the massive miles for men cancer fundraiser – just a day after being released from hospital.
The three-year-old’s family was dealt a blow earlier this month when the Hartlepool youngster was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
He has spent the past two weeks in Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where he has undergone chemotherapy, a lumbar puncture and bone marrow tests.
But after a “whirlwind” of a month, Sonny was at the JD Sports Domes yesterday and headed over the start line on the shoulders of his proud dad Stephen Lambert, 30.
Golden Flatts nursery pupil Sonny, who is on a course of steroids for the next six months and will be monitored for the next three years, was adamant he would cross the finish line himself.
Sonny’s mum, Nicola Misseldine, 25, who is from the Seaton Lane area and also mum to eight-month-old Georgie, said: “I’m just really proud of him.
“It’s been really emotional just seeing him cross the finish line and running on his own.
“He still has to go to hospital once or twice a week for intensive chemotherapy.
“We just have to see at how he responds to treatment.”
Nicola hailed the 5k Miles for Men event as a “credit” to organiser Michael Day and to the town.
Stephen said: “I’m over the moon with him doing it. “The last fortnight has been an emotional rollercoaster.”
Sonny was just one of 900 runners in a sea of blue T-shirted men and boys who took part in the event, now in its third year.
It has raised at least £84,500 for Cancer Research and other charities.
Organiser Michael Day, who founded Miles for Men in 2012 after losing his father Michael Day Snr to throat cancer in 2007, mentioned Sonny in an emotional speech ahead of the race.
Cancer survivor Richard Griffiths told everyone: “There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
He added: “Watch out cancer – Poolies are coming to get you!”
Michael choked back tears when he paid tributes to those who have passed away after fighting illness.
They included seven-year-old Dan Sullivan who died in 2012 after fighting a rare blood cancer, Michael’s friend Paul Royal, and Seaton councillor Cath Hill, who was a youth worker who knew Michael and his friends when they were “raggy lads”, who lost a battle with cancer in February.
Michael also mentioned others affected by cancer, including his father’s friend David Collier, whose wife Pat is battling bone cancer, Emily-Jo Malham, who is in remission from leukaemia, former Red Admiral landlord Barry Clark who is going through chemotherapy and breast cancer patient Kay Leighton.
Michaela Dawson, who has she has just been diagnosed with breast cancer, was also mentioned, as was Mandy Emmerson, who has passed away, Susan Ashby, David Slimmings who lost his mum to cancer and flew from Jersey to do the run and the family of Emma Storey who died last year from cancer aged just 32.
Phil Holbrook, who was injured in a car crash that killed his wife Sally in 2012, was also hailed by Michael for taking part.
The first across the finish line was Paul Wilson, in 15 minutes.
The last was inspirational participant across the line was Les Weatherall, 85, who has been battling prostate and bowel cancer for 14 years.
Hartlepool ceremonial mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher finished the run in 36 minutes 18 seconds.
He said he was delighted to back the event as it is one of his chosen Mayoral charities to support this year.
Hundreds of people turned out to support the event, both at the JD Domes, and on the route along the way.