Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Community Joins Together to Help Cancer Boy Joel

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Community Joins Together to Help Cancer Boy Joel

Article excerpt

Byline: Lyndsay Oxley Reporter

COMMUNITY spirits were high yesterday as residents gathered in Grangetown to support 14-year-old Joel Williams who has vowed to fight cancer after being diagnosed three weeks ago.

Just like most youngsters his age, Boro fan Joel was looking forward to the summer holidays. Never did he, or his family, expect to be faced with such a devastating ordeal.

The Laurence Jackson School pupil had had a lump on the side of his neck for several months. Despite the family suspecting it to be a gland and nothing to worry about, it kept appearing and then disappearing.

After a few weeks, alarm bells started to ring and during a visit to the doctors at the beginning of August with hayfever-like symptoms, the lump was checked out.

Initially, doctors thought it was most likely nothing to worry about but opted for a scan to be sure.

Following the procedure at Middlesbrough's James Cook University Hospital, it was decided further investigation was needed.

Within two days, Joel was referred to a specialist at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary who revealed it was Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer which affects the lymphatic system - part of the immune system.

The cancer is in both sides of Joel's neck and has spread into his chest. Even the slightest of infections could now prove to be life-threatening.

He has already begun his first cycle of chemotherapy at the RVI which is set to finish this Friday. However, the treatment will continue for the next six months. Depending on how Joel's body reacts, he may also have to have radiotherapy and a blood transfusion.

Mum Mandy, 34, said: "Joel has held us all together. He just wants us to carry on as normal as we can.

"He is still coming to terms with being diagnosed and the treatment.

"He has asked us to stop crying, so we have. If he can stay strong to get through it we need to.

"He has told us he wants to kick cancer's ass.

"We are just so proud of him." Joel, who has played for Grangetown YCC for the past five years, is football mad and a Boro fan through and through. …

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