Bubbly youngster Leyton Anderson is a source of amazement as he battles a form of cancer.
The four-year-old from Hartlepool has surprised doctors with his constantly happy outlook on life despite a constant round of chemotherapy, lumbar punctures and visits to hospital.
And his only worry, says his ultra proud mum Dawn is whether he is “going to lose his hair like the other boys and girls.”
Today, the brave battler becomes the latest entrant in the Best of Hartlepool Awards and is in the running for a Child of Courage honour.
Mum Dawn, from the King Oswy area of Hartlepool, said: “It has been a nightmare but the doctors can not believe how happy he is in himself.
“He is running about and he just gets on with life. He is really bubbly. He is full of character and he has everyone laughing.”
I broke down in tears. I knew what they were going to say. I knew it was going to be something bad. I am glad, though, that I now know what’s wrong with himDawn Anderson
Leyton’s happy world was devastated last November. He started feeling poorly and was “crying with pain in his back and legs,” said Dawn whose partner Jamie Rowbotham, 33, is Leyton’s dad.
The pain became so bad, Leyton could not walk. And soon after, he spent 12 days at the University Hospital of North Tees before recovering sufficiently to go home before Christmas.
But Dawn, 36, who is also mum to Danielle, 18, Cameron, 17, and Ellie, 11, said: “He was screaming in pain at 3am on New Year’s Day. We had another 12 days at North Tees.”
After a round of antibiotics, Leyton went home again but his temperature soared and this time he was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle where blood tests showed he had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) which is a cancer of the white blood cells. It affects around one in 2,000 children but there is a 97 per cent survival rate.
Despite that, Dawn said: “I broke down in tears. I knew what they were going to say. I knew it was going to be something bad.”
She admitted: “I am glad, though, that I now know what’s wrong with him.”
Leyton has already started on chemotherapy treatment but he faces three and a half years more.
His courageous story was highlighted thanks to town charity Miles for Men. Officials from the charity visited Leyton to give him presents of Batman and Spiderman costumes, as well as Minions figures, for his fourth birthday.
Promotions manager for Miles for Men, Kevin Hill said: “Our motto is to put a smile on a child’s face makes it all worthwhile.
“Leyton is such a happy-go-lucky lad and he is another child who is suffering. There are far too many children who go through these difficult times and it is just nice to be able to help them in some way.”
And now Leyton becomes the latest entry in this year’s Best of Hartlepool competition.
This year, the Best of Hartlepool competition is being held in association with Niramax and in which Specsavers, Stagecoach North East and Hart Biologicals are category sponsors. We are delighted to have every one of them behind us.
The deadline to put forward entries is Saturday, April 2.
So all we need now is plenty of people to come forward. To nominate send your name, address and telephone number, the name of the business or person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known)
State which category your nomination applies to (from the list of categories) and provide a description of the reasons for your nomination (no more than 300 words)
Post your nomination to: Nicola Meldrum, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland. DH4 5RA alternatively email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.