A brave little boy has taken home the top prize in the Echo’s Dear Santa competition after writing to tell us of the courageous way he copes with his dad’s battle with leukaemia.
Three-year-old Oliver Patterson described the way he keeps his dad, Chris Patterson, 27, company while he is receiving treatment for leukaemia at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
In his heartfelt letter, Oliver, from Cotswold Road, Sunderland, said: “I deserve a special gift from Santa because I have had a very difficult time this year.
“My daddy suddenly became very unwell.
“My mammy tells me my daddy’s blood is poorly. He has something called leukaemia.
“He has been in hospital a long time and it doesn’t look like he will be home for Christmas.
“I take my toys into the hospital so he can play with me and my brother.”
As the winner, the youngster received a £100 Love2Shop voucher and four Sunderland V Liverpool match tickets.
Mum Lana Stoker, 28, said both Oliver and his one-year-old brother Jack Patterson had been very brave since their dad was diagnosed on October 31.
“Oliver loves trains and buses, so with his voucher we will take him to the shops and let him pick what he wants,” she added.
“His dad Chris was diagnosed back in October following six weeks of symptoms, which included bruising and tiredness. “We took him to A&E at Sunderland Royal and following blood tests he was diagnosed with leukaemia that same night. “It was a massive shock to us all.
“He was then admitted to hospital for 40 days and has already undergone a course of chemotherapy. “He will undergo another course in the New Year. “Chris is still in hospital at the moment receiving blood transfusions and fighting an infection, so we can only hope he will get home for Christmas Day.
“The boys are constantly asking for their dad as they really miss him, but we visit every day.
“They will be over the moon to have won.”