a TWELVE-YEAR-OLD leukaemia sufferer is helping to launch a Cancer Research campaign which encourages people to donate used clothes to the charity.
Cameron Dowell, from Broxburn, was struck down with the disease last year, just five days before his 11th birthday – which he spent in hospital.
His mother, community nurse Ann, 44, said her son had been suffering from flu but seemed to have recovered and was back at Kirkhill Primary.
She said: “We went to the pictures and we came out and he said ‘I feel really weak’. We got home and he said ‘Can I get some orange juice?’, and he could hardly walk to the kitchen.
“By the time I got him to St John’s, I was struggling to get him through the doors. They started saying, ‘We’re not sure what’s going on, we think he might have leukaemia or his bone marrow’s gone into shock’.” The next day he was rushed from St John’s to the Sick Kids by ambulance, where the diagnosis was confirmed.
Cameron’s dad, Ronnie, who was working offshore in the North Sea, was taken off his rig by helicopter to be at his son’s bedside.
Mrs Dowell said: “You don’t expect your children to have cancer, it’s the last thing on your mind and you think you’d notice changes on the way.”
As the chemotherapy depressed his immune system, Cameron suffered numerous setbacks, including a life-threatening chest infection that saw him hospitalised on anti- biotics for six weeks. He was also rushed back to hospital after developing temporary diabetes as a result of high-dose steroids he was taking.
Cameron is still taking drugs every day to keep the leukaemia at bay, but is back at school, and has decided to put his experiences to good use by backing Cancer Research’s Give Up Clothes for Good campaign, which urges people to donate used clothes at drop-off points at TK Maxx stores during April.
Mrs Dowell said: “It was one of the things Cameron said a while ago. He said, ‘If I’m going to support a charity, I’d like it to be Cancer Research’. I said ‘Why?’ and he said ‘To try and save more children’s lives and to prevent children suffering as much’.”
TK Maxx spokeswoman, Helen Gunter, said: “We want to encourage people across Edinburgh and the Lothians to be part of the UK’s biggest clothing collection. So please drop off your unwanted, quality clothing at any of our TK Maxx stores in Edinburgh or Livingston and help us beat kids’ cancer.”
For more information see www.tkmaxx.com