Sam's courage earns Little Star award

A COURAGEOUS schoolboy who fought back from the brink of death in his battle against leukaemia has been honoured by Cancer Research UK.

James Mortlock

A COURAGEOUS schoolboy who fought back from the brink of death in his battle against leukaemia has been honoured by Cancer Research UK.

For continuing to smile through his ordeal, seven-year-old Sam Sharp, from Mildenhall, has been handed a special Little Star trophy.

The annual Cancer Research UK Little Star Awards acknowledge the unique challenges faced by youngsters who confront cancer.

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Sam's mum, Sarah Sharp, nominated him for the accolade and beamed with pride as he was handed his chrome trophy and a certificate - signed by celebrities including Leona Lewis and Lewis Hamilton.

She said: “Sam has been through so much since his diagnosis at the age of four. He has had pneumonia three times and shingles three times, as well as repeated infections. He was so ill at one point that we thought we were going to lose him.

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“It is lovely for Sam to be recognised in this way for all that he has endured. He is now in remission and is so much better, but he has never lost his smile despite all the treatment.”

Sarah herself experienced a traumatic ordeal when Sam was diagnosed. Not only was she nursing Sam's five week old sister, Jessica, when she received the grim news that her son had leukaemia, but her husband, Lee, was actually in theatre having surgery when the results came through.

“Lee awoke from the anaesthetic to find his parents at his bedside telling him Sam had leukaemia. He was on his feet in no time - I doubt if anyone has ever recovered more quickly from an operation.” said Sarah.

Sam was diagnosed after becoming increasingly unwell and suffering bruising, nosebleeds and yellowing of the skin.

His parents insisted he should have a blood test to find the root of the problem.

The tests revealed Sam had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and he embarked immediately on a lengthy course of chemotherapy under the care of Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

He finished his treatment in August last year, and doctors have told the family he is now in remission. However, he continues to have monthly blood tests and will be closely monitored until the age of 16.

Jane Redman, Cancer Research UK's representative in Suffolk, presented Sam with his award. She said: “Sam is a true 'Little Star' who richly deserves this accolade. If there was an award for parents, I'm sure Sarah and Lee would get one too.”

Cancer is the most common cause of death from illness in children aged between one and 14. Each year, about 1,400 children in the UK are diagnosed with the disease. But 75% of children survive for at least five years after a diagnosis, compared with just 30% in the 1960s.

Cancer Research UK is now inviting anyone who knows other brave children - aged 17 or under - who are currently battling cancer or have undergone treatment for the disease in the past five years, to nominate them for a Little Star Award.

To nominate visit or call Paul Wadsworth on 0113 263 6495.

The awards are sponsored by TK Maxx, which has also paired up with Cancer Research UK to launch the Together for Kids fund which has already raised �3million.

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