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Two best friends have been putting their best foot forward, walking Hadrian’s Wall to raise money in honour of a local youngster and his battle with childhood cancer.

Will Flint and Matt Bee have walked the 84 mile stretch, coast to coast, West to East in five days on behalf of Joseph’s Appeal, supporting the North of England Children’s Cancer Research (NECCR).

Joseph Fawcett, son of Northumberland couple Amy and Alex, was just eight-months-old when he was diagnosed with a rare and very aggressive brain tumour called atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour (ATRT) in July of 2013.

After brain surgery couldn’t remove all of the tumour he then went through 11 rounds of high dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant with horrendous side effects that left Joseph’s immune system completely wiped out and in intensive care, fighting for his life.

Against the odds, scans showed that the treatment had worked and that there was no longer any sign of the tumour. And now, lively three-year–old Joseph, along with his friends and family has been raising money to help other youngsters battling childhood cancer.

Will Flint, who went to Lancaster University with Joseph’s dad Alex, said: “There were some really hard moments on the trail mostly injury related – busted knees, torn ligaments, muscle strain and blisters. In isolation the walking days are not extreme, but added together, and with heavy packs it’s hard to keep going.

“The biggest highlight was to finish the walk knowing that Joseph and his little brother William would be waiting for us to cheer us on at the end of the trail.

“We feel strongly about the need to further the fight against cancers. Joseph is an amazing little boy, hyper intelligent and full of life. He endured eleven sessions of chemotherapy, including high dose chemo. These were so punishing on his body. But through the brilliant support of doctors, friends and family, Joseph got the right treatment.”

Thanks to the support of the Fawcett’s family and friends they were able to meet their fundraising goal, of £11,000 for 2016, in just three months. To date, Will and Matt, have now raised in the region of £1500 for Joseph’s Appeal and the NECCR.

The charity funds vital research into the causes and treatment of cancer in childhood, developing less toxic and more effective treatments and has worked to establish the North East as one of the world leaders in the research of childhood cancer – for the benefit of children with cancer everywhere.

Janet Price, fundraising manager for the NECCR said: “The achievement that has been made by Will and Matt, and by Joseph’s Appeal is absolutely incredible we at the NECCR cannot be more grateful for their support.

“All the money raised by Joseph’s Appeal will go towards helping find treatments which are less harmful to children with cancer. A child with cancer in the 1980s would have just a 30% chance of survival, yet today the same diagnosis has over an 80% chance of clearing. It’s so important to continue to raise vital funds for research into children’s cancer, so we can defeat the disease once and for all.”

To sponsor Will and Matt, visit: www.justgiving.com/walkwithwillandmatt

North of England Children’s Cancer Research is a Newcastle based children’s charity, founded by families effected by childhood cancer. The charity has raised over £30 million for research into better treatments for children’s cancer.

To find out more or to make a donation, please call 07808 349570 or email janet@neccr.org.uk

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