Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'I Will Never Forget Why We Put Ourselves through the Pain and Blisters. and I Won't Stop; Beefy's Message of Hope to Young Cancer Sufferers

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'I Will Never Forget Why We Put Ourselves through the Pain and Blisters. and I Won't Stop; Beefy's Message of Hope to Young Cancer Sufferers

Article excerpt

Byline: Alastair Craig

FROM the cricket pitch to fundraising pied piper, Sir Ian Botham has collected more cash for the region's child cancer sufferers.

Dozens of supporters gradually joined the cricketing legend to follow in his footsteps as he launched his latest cancer walk in the North East yesterday. Sir Ian left Newcastle's Quayside for the 15-mile trek in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, vowing to raise thousands for research into the killer conditions.

And by the time he reached Gateshead's Gibside Estate, hundreds had joined the cause to arrive at the finishing line in a 200m-long team.

In 1985, before Sir Ian's cancer walks began, only 20% of children survived the most common form of leukaemia.

But now, more than 90% live through the disease thanks to research cash finding new and improved treatments.

Sir Ian said: "We're not the real heroes, the people who are walking and trying our best to raise money.

"The specialists and the surgeons and the doctors are the heroes. They are using the money we raise to make remarkable advances for children and adults with blood cancers.

"It's fantastic that people like cancer survivor Ben Charlton have been able to walk with me. I never forget why we put ourselves through the pain and blisters.

"We're so far on now with these walks that children I met in the 1990s who were fighting leukaemia are turning up on the walks as adults now, fit, healthy and with a new outlook on life.

That's what makes it all worthwhile. Just seeing kids who were gravely ill and now moving on and fully recovered is a huge reward."

Sir Ian says he still needs people to sign up and join him on the walks and help ensure that every child diagnosed with blood cancers including leukaemia and lymphoma survives.

"I won't stop until we beat childhood blood cancer, but I can't do it without help," he added.

Joining Sir Ian from the start line near Gateshead's Millennium Bridge was cancer survivor Ben Charlton, eight, from Rowlands Gill, Gateshead.

Ben is one of 14 local heroes - children currently receiving treatment for leukaemia or in remission -- joining "Beefy" in each of the 10 towns he is visiting on his challenge. …

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