Kettlethorpe community unites for Champion Child Billy

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THE kindness of a community is helping the parents of a poorly little boy come to terms with a devastating diagnosis.

Lisa and Martin Green’s lives were turned upside down when they were told last month that their son Billy, 4, had a rare form of leukaemia.

But his story has touched the lives of people in Kettlethorpe and beyond, who are rallying to raise money in his name.

Mrs Green, 38, of Lancet Road, said nothing could have prepared the family for the news that doctors delivered on October 24.

She said: “Billy had been pale for a while, and had been getting lots of colds. I took him to the doctors, but they had no reason to think it was anything but normal childhood illnesses.

“I was worried he might be anaemic. Then one night, I noticed a blue rash on his tummy and the following day all his face was swollen.

“We ended up at the hospital with him, and when I was stroking his face I noticed purple bruising behind his ear and up the back of his head.

“The doctors thought he had meningitis, which was scary enough, but when they said leukaemia I felt like a steamroller had driven over my chest. We were devastated. It still doesn’t feel like it’s happening to us.”

Billy, who has been nominated for one of the Express’s Champion Children Awards, celebrated his 4th birthday in hospital earlier this month, and might have to spend Christmas there too as he undergoes six to eight months of chemotherapy treatment.

Mrs Green said: “He is such a special little boy. So gorgeous.

“He’s so polite and brave - even when he’s having awful things done to him as part of his treatment, he’ll just say ‘please don’t hurt me’ and never kicks up a fuss.”

The family, including Billy’s two-year-old sister Willow, are living between special accommodation at Leeds General infirmary, and home, where friends, neighbours and complete strangers are busy planning events to raise money for the Candlelighters charity that provides so much to keep poorly children like Billy occupied in hospital.

The Kettlethorpe Hotel has joined forces with the Gardener’s Arms to organise a charity Boxing Day football match and Mrs Green’s life-long friend Nicola Crossley has organised a fun day at her fitness studio on the Diamond Business Park.

The event at Studio 1 N&N Ltd on Thornes Moor Road will start with free fitness classes at 9.30am on Sunday, December 16, followed by a jumble sale at noon with a raffle and cake stalls.

Mrs Green said: “It’s amazing how kind and generous people are being. Even people we don’t know. “It has helped us so much over the last few weeks and we can’t thank everyone enough.”

Thank you to everyone who nominated a Champion Child. Nominations are currently being processed in preparation for the award ceremony on Friday, December 14.