A brave Lytham schoolboy is urging people across the Fylde coast to clear out their wardrobes and drawers to help save lives like his.
Joe Ball, who has been treated successfully for leukaemia, is supporting Give Up Clothes for Good, a partnership between TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens.
The nine-year-old is posing in a photo with a washing-line full of clothes, to help highlight how the items hidden at the back of people’s wardrobes could be on someone else’s shopping wish-list.
Joe and his family are asking local people to help beat children’s cancers sooner – by dropping off any unwanted clothing, accessories and quality homeware at TK Maxx stores across the area, including at Bank Hey Street in Blackpool and Blackpool Retail Park, South Shore.
When sold in Cancer Research UK shops, each bag of donated items could be worth around £30 for research into cancers affecting children, teens and young adults.
Joe is one of around 160 children in the North West diagnosed with cancer every year, so he and his family know first-hand just how important new breakthroughs and discoveries are.
Mum Caroline Ball, 39, said: “When we were told Joe had leukaemia, we were terrified we were going to lose him. But he is such a little fighter and coped with years of treatment with unbelievable bravery, strength and resilience – despite all the things he was missing out on while he was ill.
“We’re so grateful for the treatment that saved his life. Success stories like ours would not be possible without Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work, which in turn relies on everyone who raises funds.”
Joe was diagnosed with leukaemia a week before his fourth birthday.
His mum, Caroline, realised there was something seriously wrong with Joe when he lost his appetite, became lethargic and developed pinprick red marks around his neck.
Caroline, a civil servant, went to her GP and Joe was initially referred to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
A blood test revealed Joe had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and he was transferred to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
After further tests, Joe underwent a blood transfusion before starting an intensive course of chemotherapy.
Caroline stayed with Joe at the hospital, which became a second home for the family.
He responded well to chemotherapy and completed all of his treatment more than three years later – just two weeks before Caroline gave birth to his sister, Emily, who is now aged two-and-a-half.
Joe is fit and well and loves life at St Peter’s Primary School in Lytham.
Caroline added: “We are urging people to support Give Up Clothes for Good.
“We can all help Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens ensure that more children, like Joe, survive cancer in the future.”
Visit tkmaxx.com or cruk.org/kidsandteens