Youngster thanks all the superheroes who have helped him fight cancer

Exactly a year ago the parents of Tommy Edwards received the news every parent dreads - that their son had cancer.

Tommy in the middle front as Iron Man with Lilleshall Primary School pupils from years 1 and 2
Tommy in the middle front as Iron Man with Lilleshall Primary School pupils from years 1 and 2

It was, they admit, a week of hell, followed by months of worry and aggressive treatment for the now five-year-old.

Twelve months on and while Tommy is still on a mind-boggling regime of medication, he is certainly living life to the full.

To mark the first anniversary of his diagnosis, children and staff at his school, Lilleshall Primary, and six other schools in the area, held a Superheroes day, dressing in the costumes of superheroes of all types, from Iron Man and Spider-Man to nurses, doctor and firefighters.

The day helped raise money for Prevent ALL, the charity set up by Tommy's parents, Jo and Chris Edwards, to aid research into childhood cancer.

Some of Tommy's Year 1 class, with Tommy in the middle as Iron Man

Jo said the anniversary had brought the memories flooding back and admitted she was finding it hard looking back and processing what had happened.

"It really has been and still is a rollercoaster for all of us," she said. "Tommy was so poorly, yet the way he has dealt with it all is just incredible. He is doing amazingly well and coping brilliantly."

Tommy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in March 2021 and after six months of intense chemotherapy is now into the maintenance phase, with treatment continuing until 2024.

Maintenance means a massive amount of medication.

Jo said: "He has to have a daily does and then one weekly, both of which we can do at home. Once a month he has to go to the Princess Royal for a chemo infusion and every three months we have to go to Birmingham.

"It is when all these come together in the space of a few days that is it really hard for him."

Jo added: "I wanted to mark the anniversary somehow and thought that superhero really summed everything up. I asked Tommy's school, Lilleshall, and his former school Apley if they were interested and they said yes straight away."

Other schools on board included St Lawrence's Primary in Preston Upon The Weald Moors, Wrockwardine Wood Junior School, Shifnal Primary School and St Matthew's Primary Donnington.

Jo said superheroes who had helped Tommy included his teacher, Hannah Phillips, whom she said had been amazing, and his older brothers, Henry, 7, and George, 14.

"We have to do things as a family that Tommy can do, for instance he can't go swimming and we have to ensure whatever he does we protect his central line for the medication," she said.

"What was incredible was that after trying for so long to protect him from Covid, Tommy contracted it in January, and sailed through it."

The Prevent ALL charity aims to prevent acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in children globally, by supporting the research, development, testing and rollout of a preventative treatment. It also aims to support children and their families undergoing treatment for Leukaemia and other blood cancers. To find out more visit preventall.org

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