SCORES of people flocked to a charity ball inspired by a courageous youngster who survived a rare cancer.
Thomas Russell was just 11 weeks old when he was struck down with stage four neuroblastoma, which few expected him to survive.
The tot, of Tunstall, Sunderland, was one of the youngest sufferers of the illness in the country at the time of his diagnosis.
However, against the odds, he won his fight for life.
Now eight, the inspirational youngster is helping other children do the same after a fund-raising ball at the Rainton Meadows Arena, which attracted a 250-strong crowd.
The £13,700 raised will go towards work at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Mum Joanne, 44, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response to the fund-raising. It was a really good night and we want to thank everyone who came.” The charity ball was the latest event organised by the Thomas Russell Cancer Trust Fund, which has so far raised more than £85,000 to thank specialists for the life-saving care Thomas received.
After surgery and an intensive course of chemotherapy, the pupil at St Mary’s RC Primary School, in Barnes, has been in remission for nearly five years.
“A couple of consultants spoke on the night and they stressed how important it was, in times of budget cuts, that groups like ours supported the NHS,” said Joanne.
“It makes a huge difference.”
For more information about the Thomas Russell Cancer Trust Fund, visit www.thomasrussellcancertrustfund.co.uk.