Little star Calum is a shining example
A six-year-old Houghton Regis boy who has defiantly battled a rare form of child cancer since before his first birthday has been presented with a unique award.
Calum Gilbert was given the Cancer Research UK Little Star Award which recognises the courage shown by children who confront cancer.
Mum Lisa said: “He is such a brave little boy. He always has a smile on his face.”
Calum, of Therfield Walk, was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma after a lump came to light when dad Simon was tickling him to make him laugh.
Only 15 cases of the rare liver cancer are diagnosed each year in Britain.
Lisa added: “I knew there was something wrong. Our health visitor, who had over 30 years’ experience, had never seen anything like it. Even the doctors were quite shocked.”
He had to endure gruelling chemotherapy treatment and underwent a liver transplant aged just 13 months.
Calum suffered some hearing loss from the treatment, which affected his speech and his ability to interact and socialise with other children.
Though he still takes medication and has hospital visits, today Calum is fit and healthy and shows few signs of what he has been through.
Lisa said: “He never complains. When he has blood tests and injections at the Luton & Dunstable Hospital, he just holds out his arm for the nurses to do what they have to do.
“He’s so bubbly and full of life.
“We are very grateful for the work Cancer Research UK does. If it was not for research, he would not be here now.
“I used to think – like most people – that cancer is something that will never happen to my family.
“We know different now. I also want to stress that mums should trust their instincts, as Calum was lucky his cancer was caught early before it spread”.
For the award, Calum received a unique trophy and a certificate signed by celebrity ambassadors such as Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah, pop group JLS and England football captain Steven Gerrard.
Calum, a pupil at Hawthorn Park Lower School, said: “It’s fantastic!”
And upon hearing he was to appear in this week’s Dunstable Gazette he said: “I’m going to make my daddy go out and buy the paper!”
Calum turns seven on Saturday and will celebrate by going tenpin bowling with friends.
Every month 12 children are diagnosed with cancer in the East of England. In the late 1960s, fewer than three in 10 survived for at least five years. Today that figure has risen to almost eight in 10.
The Little Star Awards are open to all under-18s who have cancer or who have been treated for the disease in the last five years.
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Weather for Luton
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 24 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 12 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east