A BRAVE three-year-old will be guest of honour at one of this year’s Race for Life events.
Lucas Thorpe, who lost half his foot and the tips of his toes due to a rare cancer, has been invited, along with his mum Jodie Rothwell, to the 5k event in Leigh on Sunday, June 8.
Lucas, from Hindsford in Atherton, was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma when he was aged just 11 months old.
Lucas, who has older siblings Molly and Jordan, was eventually referred to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital where doctors found a mass on his bladder.
The tumour was successfully removed from his bladder, but it had already spread to his urethra and prostate.
A biopsy of the tumour which had been removed revealed Lucas had rhabdomyosarcoma - only the second time doctors had ever seen the rare form of cancer in a baby.
He was initially treated with chemotherapy, but also needed specialist radiotherapy called proton beam therapy. His organs were too immature to cope with standard radiotherapy, so he was referred to the US for further treatment.
Mum Jodie and Lucas’s dad, Dale Thorpe travelled to Jacksonville with their son in December 2011 for a 10-week course of proton therapy. But they flew out immediately after Lucas’s chemotherapy and his compromised immune system led to him developing pneumonia and septicaemia just two days after arriving.
Lucas fought for his life in the intensive care unit and Jodie and Dale were told to he was not expected to last the night.
Against the odds, Lucas did survive, despite nearly losing his right arm and leg.
The septicaemia caused Lucas to lose half of his right foot and the tips of his toes, as well as the tips of his fingers.
He still undergoes regular check-ups in the UK and recently joined the pre-school at St George’s Primary School in Tyldesley and Jodie, 30, is now studying to become a nurse.
She said: “I’m so grateful for the research that helped Lucas and now I want to help others by supporting Cancer Research UK’s work and taking part in Race for Life.
“He is an amazing little boy and it was joy to see him start pre-school when we didn’t know if he would even survive the night at one point.”
Jen Ward, Cancer Research UK’s Leigh events manager, said: “We are thrilled that Jodie and Lucas will be our special guests.
“Sadly, most of us know someone whose life has been touched by cancer and this really brings home how much more work there is to do. Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer. The more research we can fund, the sooner that day will come.”
This year, organisers need 1,300 women and girls to stride out at Pennington Flash in Leigh and help to raise £80,000.
A Race for Life event will also be held at Wigan’s Haigh Hall on Sunday June 29.
To enter Race for Life’s 5k, 10k or Pretty Muddy events in the North West visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0845 600 6050.
There are 19 Pretty Muddy sessions this year. As a new addition, it is a women-only, non-competitive 5k obstacle course – with mud.