BRAVE Charlie Foster has beaten blood cancer – and now the inspirational schoolboy wants to grow up helping others fight the disease.
The family of the courageous 11-year-old admitted they couldn’t put into words the feeling of ecstasy when Charlie was given the all-clear on the day of his big sister’s 15th birthday.
What came before was a terrifying three-year ordeal and month after month of gruelling treatment for the Throston Primary School pupil, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when he was just eight-years-old.
Today, his relieved and proud dad, Colin, 46, said: “Now Charlie just wants to get back to being a kid again.
“He’s cheeky, he’s funny, he’s cute.
“And he was absolutely fantastic right from the day he was diagnosed. Anytime you asked him how he was feeling he would just say he was fine.”
Dedicated Charlie, a big Hartlepool United fan, and family and friends have raised more than £7,500 for cancer research since the youngster was diagnosed with the form of blood cancer.
The latest fundraiser was organised by the youngster and his close school friends, Jacob Alderson, Jak Brown, Reece Chesterton, Nathan Currell, Tyler McGaw and Bailey Stamper, who planned and ran 5k during their half-term holidays and raised around £500 for Cancer Research UK.
And he plans to continue to help others battling the disease as Charlie now wants to grow up and work as a researcher to help find a cure for cancer.
Colin, a project operations manager for Vodafone, added: “All of the brilliant fundraising that’s been done helps to fund research.
“It’s the research which cured Charlie and it’s what will cure all of the other people who are diagnosed.”
Charlie, who lives in the Hart Lane area of Hartlepool with his parents, Colin and Alison, 40, who works for Hartlepool Borough Council and sister Katie, is moving up to secondary school this year and will start at High Tunstall College of Science in September.
It was back in February 2011 when the youngster’s ordeal started after his parents first realised something was wrong - but they never expected the horror diagnosis that was to come.
Charlie was struggling to shake off a cold he had been suffering with for a couple of months and went for a routine check-up to test for conditions such as anaemia.
Within 24 hours the schoolboy had been diagnosed with leukaemia.
The thorough and gruelling treatment at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary started immediately and although there was light at the end of the tunnel for the family when medics told Charlie the treatment had ridded his body of 95 per cent of the cancer in 2012, he continued with the medication until he was finally given the all clear this year.
Colin added: “It goes without saying we have had some really difficult times, we have been to the dark side and back but to get told he had the all-clear, I can’t put it into words how that felt.”