Brave cancer survivor Ethan Chapman wins 'Little Star' award
CANCER survivor Ethan Chapman has been chosen as the face of a campaign to raise awareness of childhood cancer.
The brave youngster from Newstead, pictured below, now aged nine, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia at the age of just four.
He received treatment for the disease at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire for three-and-a-half years and is now in remission.
Now Ethan's courage has been recognised in the Cancer Research UK Little Star awards – meaning his story will feature on the charity's website.
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Ethan's mum, home care worker, Jeanine Ball, aged 38, said Ethan became unwell with nosebleeds and pains in his legs in the summer of 2008.
She said: "He was getting over a viral infection and was very lethargic so I asked the doctors to do a few tests. I thought he was anaemic."
Ethan was referred for blood tests and Jeanine became alarmed when she got a phone call only hours later asking her to go back to the hospital.
She said: "When they told me Ethan had leukaemia it was a complete bolt out of the blue. I had never considered that it could be anything so serious. Luckily he was too young to really understand how ill he was, so he took it all in his stride."
Ethan was referred to Birmingham Children's Hospital where he was diagnosed as having an aggressive form of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, requiring very intensive chemotherapy.
The treatment saw Ethan constantly in and out of hospital and lose all his hair.
"He is such a tough little lad, he just got on with things," said Jeanine.
"He wasn't bothered about his hair falling out, and he behaved as if there was nothing wrong with him.
"He was so brave – he was the one who kept us going, rather than the other way around."
Ethan's older brother Matthew Ridley, aged 19, helped Ethan through his treatment by keeping him entertained and playing games with him.
The year four Newstead Primary School pupil finished his treatment in February last year, and will continue to have checks every two months for the next five years.
As a Little Star Award recipient, he received a unique trophy, a £50 TK Maxx gift card and a certificate signed by celebrities. Cancer Research UK's Little Star Awards, in partnership with TK Maxx, acknowledge the unique challenges faced by youngsters who have cancer. The awards are open to all under-18s who have cancer or who have been treated for the disease in the last five years.
Cancer Research UK spokesman, Jane Bullock, said: "Ethan has been through an awful lot, but remained cheerful throughout.
"He is certainly deserving of a Little Star award."
Jeanine added: "I have seen children with other types of cancer who aren't as lucky as Ethan.
"Thanks to research, ALL has a high cure rate. It makes you feel very fortunate.
"Ethan was thrilled to get his Little Star award and tells all his friends about it. He knows he has been brave and it is lovely for him to have some public recognition of that."
To nominate a Little Star, or find out more about the charity, visit cruk.org/littlestar