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Wednesday, December 19, 2007


From the Cambridge News - Liam tops £130,000 - and aims to go karting

Liam Fairhurst backing the News appeal for the TCT on Monday.CHRISTMAS has brought some special gifts for amazing fundraiser Liam Fairhurst.

Liam, 12, is fit and well after a major operation to remove a tumour from his lung, and has taken his appeal for children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent to the £130,000 mark.

That caps an incredible year for the pupil at Soham Village College, whose fundraising triumphs have come in the midst of his second battle with cancer and earned him meetings with Prince William, Professor Stephen Hawking and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Liam says his New Year's resolution is simple: "To stay cancer free."

He also has another priority - to get back on the go-kart he won after being named Most Courageous Child at the Cambridge Evening News Community Awards.

Liam, who will continue to raise money for CLIC Sargent, added his support to the News' £1 million appeal for a Teenage Cancer Trust unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.

He urged generous Cambridgeshire residents to "get behind the campaign and make it as successful as mine".

A dramatic 12 months began on December 22 last year, when Liam started his appeal in memory of Jack Wilkinson, a friend who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 12.

Speaking to the News with parents Mark and Sarah at their home in Blackthorn Court, Soham, Liam picked out the highlights of his year as "getting the go-kart, meeting Prince William and getting cancer free".

A meeting with Professor Hawking, who has faced his own colossal medical challenges, lifted Liam at a time when he was exhausted by chemotherapy.

Liam said: "Stephen Hawking is an idol for me. The best thing was his positive mental attitude.

I asked him if he ever got angry.

He said that anger was a negative energy."

The youngster can look forward to a Christmas present from the Prime Minister. Mr Brown, who presented Liam with a Diana Award for dedication to others and praised him in a speech at the Labour Party conference, is keeping in touch and up to date with his progress.

In the New Year, Liam wants to persuade his doctors to let him back on the go-kart track as soon as possible.

Sounding like the next Lewis Hamilton, he said: "It has a top speed of 80mph and does 0 to 60 in three seconds. I've taken it to the top speed! It's a four-stroke, but it beats some two-strokes."

Mrs Fairhurst said: "He used to say that he just forgets about his illness when he is on the track."

While the last year has seen glittering highlights, there have also been tough challenges.

Liam was diagnosed with lung cancer in March, having previously overcome a tumour in his leg.

Earlier this month, he underwent surgery at Addenbrooke's to remove a onecentimetre tumour from a difficult position near blood vessels in his lung.

Liam, who needed to spend just five days in hospital, is full of praise for the care he received at Addenbrooke's.

He said: "I want to say a big thank you to Madnam Samuels, the surgeon who operated on me - a really big thank you!"

The Fairhursts have more thanks for all those who have helped them with messages of support and donations to the appeal.

Liam said: "If you go to some places as small as Soham, there isn't a community spirit. But here, everyone knows who you are and everyone knows what is happening. They make sure you are OK."

At Soham Village College, pupils and staff have contributed a staggering £10,000 to the appeal. Liam is celebrating breaking the £130,000 barrier at a special assembly at the school today (Wednesday, 19 December).

Mrs Fairhurst said: "Liam can't go out shopping in Cambridge - or even when we have been in London - without someone recognising him and coming up to him. It makes us feel that there is goodwill behind us.

"People ask if the attention can be too much for Liam. But it picks him up when he is feeling totally cheesed off.

"The community support has been fantastic. So many people have been working together."

The new year will bring more low-level chemotherapy for Liam through injections and tablets. Beyond that, there is one ultimate goal.

He said: "When you have reached five years, they say you are cancer-free."

Liam plans to bring his fundraising to a close some time around his 13th birthday in February, but would love to raise £150,000 for CLIC Sargent by then.

December is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the Fairhursts believe Christmas is the ideal time to support charities.

Mrs Fairhurst said: "We have seen first-hand the effect that cancer can have on young people. Rather than send a Christmas card, why not give £1 to the Teenage Cancer Trust or CLIC Sargent?"

The money Liam has raised will help CLIC Sargent to provide specialist cancer treatment for youngsters as well as post-hospital social care and support for families.

Having met other youngsters struggling with illness on the children's ward at Addenbrooke's, Liam knows how tough things can be.

He said: "I've had a rough trot, but there are other people who have had an even rougher one."

To donate to Liam's appeal, log on to www.justgiving.com/liamsmile.

Published: 19/12/2007 09:16:17


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