A brave young cancer battler is set to get the Miles for Men cancer fundraiser underway - one year after he was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Four-year-old Sonny Wood from Hartlepool will be on the start line to launch the fourth event in Hartlepool that will raise money for cancer charities.
The youngster, who suffers from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, will be alongside five-year-old Mason Campion from Hunwick, also a cancer patient, to set the runners off.
Over the past year, Sonny, who is also running the race as he did last year, has endured regular treatments at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and has been in remission for six months.
But the Golden Flatts Primary School pupil will carry on chemotherapy, which successfully killed most of the cancer cells this year, until his seventh birthday to make sure they do not return.
Doctors say that 95 per cent of cancer cells in Sonny’s body have been killed, but there is a 35 per cent chance of his condition coming back.
Despite re-admission to hospital this week due to a chesty cough, Sonny’s mum Nicola Misseldine, 26, says he will be fit and ready for the race.
“Sonny is doing fine now and I’m so proud of him,” she said. “They were a little worried about the cough and how it might link to the cancer, but he’s ok now.
“He got a great reception last year at the race and when he was asked to start it this time, he was very excited.
“He’s taken everything in his stride this year and although it’s been tough, I couldn’t be more proud.
“Last July, if somebody had told us that by this time Sonny would be doing so well, we wouldn’t have believed them.”
Sonny, who has a one-year-old sister, Georgie-Mae, was also one of four winners of the Child of Courage Best of Hartlepool award back in April.
Nicola said: “It was amazing for him to be recognised for what he’s been through.
“Afterwards, he just kept saying to me ‘Mummy, I’ve won! I’ve won!’”
It is set to be the biggest Miles for Men race yet and organisers hope the total raised for cancer charities will top last year’s of £30,000.
Sonny will be running alongside Nicola’s partner, Aidan Beaumond, and her brother, Alex Southern.
Founder of the race, Michael Day, knows the family well and said: “Sonny is a perfect fit to be starting Sunday’s race.
“He’s been through hell and back and the fact he, and other kids, come out smiling at the end of it is incredible.
“He’s very excited and I couldn’t think of anything better for him to do.”
The race kicks off at 1pm on Sunday at the Sports Domes in Hartlepool.