It was with great sadness that i received the news today that the young man named Joel Picker-Spence (aged 6) that I mentioned in an earlier blog entry (he was seeking a bone marrow donor) has now been told that he is too ill to receive the life saving treatment that he so desperately needs. Having spoken to his mum Ann this evening it appears that this was to be his only chance of beating the disease...and now he cannot have the treatment, in other words, Joel is losing his brave fight with leukaemia, and,aside from some sort of miracle taking place over the next few weeks he will sadly succumb to the illness.
Ann was astonishingly frank and open about the dire situation that Joel is now in, but after nursing him and being with him for the duration of his battle, spending days, weeks and months either in transit to, or resident in, a large number of hospitals she is now having to accept that her son is slipping away, and I, as the father of a son not much younger than Joel,can only imagine how she must feel at this moment.
It is times like this that I take stock of my own situation, and strangely enough it is seeing the way that valiant youngsters like Joel cope with their personal battles, makes me take strength and hope with my own, for the measure of victory is sometimes not if the battle is won or lost, but more of how hard,courageously and passionately the fight was fought, and souls like Joel are our heroes, our beacons and our inspiration so that we may believe that one day we will conquer Leukaemia and all of the other cancers that blight so many lives.
Ann told me that she is planning to bring Christmas forward this year, to allow Joel to have some downtime and fun in his life. I for one will be delivering a present to the Picker-Spence household, given not so much with sympathy but with respect,awe and a genuine wish that no matter how great the odds are, a brave little boy will have the best Christmas ever.