Survivor’s charity ball to help others

Joanne Russell is organising a charity night at Rainton Meadows Arena inspired by her 8 year old son, cancer youngster, Thomas Russell
Joanne Russell is organising a charity night at Rainton Meadows Arena inspired by her 8 year old son, cancer youngster, Thomas Russell
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AT just 11 weeks old, Thomas Russell was struck down with a rare cancer which few expected him to survive.

The tot, of Tunstall, Sunderland, was one of the youngest sufferers of stage four neuroblastoma 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 hoping to help other children do the same with a fund-raising ball at the Rainton Meadows Arena.

Tickets have gone on sale for the event, which will go towards vital work carried out by staff at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

It is the latest event organised by the Thomas Russell Cancer Trust Fund, which has so far raised more than £70,000 to thank specialists for the life-saving care Thomas received.

Mum Joanne, 44, of Aylesford Mews, said: “Thomas is doing really well. He is just like any other happy youngster.

“Now we want to help other children facing similar health problems.”

The money was initially raised to buy a new ventilator for the paediatric intensive care unit at the hospital.

However, due to the amazing support the trust received, it has continued to raise funds and a new target of £100,000 has been set.

“We can’t believe how well it’s gone,” said Joanne. “We’ve been given so much support.

“We’ve held these kind of events before and they’ve proved really popular.

“We’re also hoping businesses will get involved in sponsoring it.”

After surgery and an intensive course of chemotherapy, Thomas has been in remission for nearly five years.

Doctors are pleased with his progress and, after beating a cancer he was not expected to survive, he is enjoying life in the classroom at St Mary’s RC Primary School, Barnes.

Joanne, a manager at a Capita Medical Reporting, near Durham City, who is married to David, said: “He loves every minute of it at school.

“He still has a few problems playing sport.

“He had a respiratory virus, which has left him with chronic lung disorder. He will have it for the rest of his life.

“But he’s caught with his school work and he’s really enjoying himself.”

The Thomas Russell Cancer Trust Charity Ball will take place at the Rainton Meadows Arena on Saturday, October 5, at 6.45pm. Tickets are £33.

Singer Kenny Thomas will be performing at the event.

For more information, visit www.thomasrussellcancertrustfund.co.uk.