Wigan schoolboy who beat cancer makes rallying call for people to clear out their wardrobes
A schoolboy diagnosed with cancer when he was just two is urging people to clear out their wardrobes to help more children like him survive.
Luke Holt, now 11, is backing TK Maxx’s Give Up Clothes for Good campaign, in support of Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People, after he was successfully treated for a Wilms’ tumour.
To mark Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this September, he wants people to take any clothes and homewares they no longer need to TK Maxx stores at Wigan’s Robin Retail Park and Leigh’s Parsonage Retail Park, so they can be sold in the charity’s shops to raise money for vital research.
Luke, from Leigh, was two when his grandmother felt a lump on the left-hand side of his body as she was changing his nappy.
His mum Deborah initially thought Luke was badly constipated, but a quick-thinking GP referred him to Warrington General Hospital for a scan.
Deborah and Luke’s dad Craig were worried he could have a hernia and were devastated when doctors said they suspected the lump was a tumour.
He was immediately transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool where he was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumour, which is the most common form of kidney cancer in children.
Luke started intensive chemotherapy and had surgery to remove his left kidney and the cancerous tumour.
He had more chemotherapy following the surgery and made a good recovery, so now only needs annual check-ups.
He left Leigh St John’s Primary School in the summer and now attends Lowton CE High School.
Deborah, who works for charity Guide Dogs UK, said: “It was a terrible shock being told Luke had cancer when he was so young, but the doctors reassured us immediately that they were confident of treating him successfully.
“The day of Luke’s surgery was the longest day of my life and one I will never forget.
“It’s thanks to research that Luke is here today. That’s why raising money for Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People is so vital.
“Luke and I will be having a good clearout at home to find clothes and things to donate and we hope our experience will inspire others to do the same. Their unwanted items really could save lives.”
More children are surviving cancer than ever before, thanks in large part to the work of Cancer Research UK, with both Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital taking part in ground-breaking clinical trials co-ordinated by the charity.
Jane Bullock, spokesman for Cancer Research UK for Children and Young People in the North West, said: “We’re grateful to Luke and his family for helping to raise awareness. Cancer in children and young people is different to cancer in adults, from the types of cancer to the impact of treatment and the long-term side effects survivors often experience. So, it needs more research which campaigns like Give Up Clothes for Good help to fund.
“We want to help ensure more people under the age of 25 in the North West, and across the UK, survive cancer with a good quality of life. That’s why we hope as many people as possible will show their support and donate any quality clothes or goods to their local TK Maxx store.”
TK Maxx is the biggest corporate supporter of the charity’s research into children’s and young people’s cancers, raising more than £37m since 2004.
Speaking on behalf of TK Maxx, Jo Murphy, vice-president of corporate responsibility and sustainability at TJX Europe, said: “We are incredibly grateful to our customers across the North West for helping us to transform the items they no longer need into funds for life-saving research. Not only are they helping more children and young people survive cancer, they’re also reducing their environmental impact by giving their pre-loved items another lease of life.”
People can donate at any TK Maxx store all year round.
Supporters can also help by wearing a gold ribbon badge – the awareness symbol of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – available from Cancer Research UK shops and selected TK Maxx stores during September.
Find out more or donate online at cruk.org/childrenandyoungpeople
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