THE remarkable toughness of little braveheart Billy Jarvis has earned him a Cancer Research UK Little Star award.
Billy, whose leukaemia is now in remission, has been recognised by the charity’s awards scheme that acknowledge the unique challenges faced by childhood cancer patients.
It is four years since Billy, now aged six, came out in bruises all over his legs and started vomiting at night. Doctors initially believed it was a virus but the toddler underwent tests after coming out in a rash on his arms and face.
Specialists delivered the devastating diagnosis to parents Claire and Ian that he had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).
He underwent chemotherapy at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool and, after failing to respond to standard treatment, he had to be placed on an intensive regime.
The family later discovered he was suffering from T-cell ALL – a rare and more aggressive form of the disease.
Billy, from Thatto Heath, had 13 months of intensive chemotherapy, followed by two years and six months of maintenance therapy.
He amazed everyone with his courage and even managed to keep up with his work at St Ann’s Primary in Rainhil.
Claire, 33, who works part-time as a Stop Smoking adviser for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: “I had discovered I was pregnant with my daughter, Emily, only days before Billy was diagnosed with cancer.
“It was a huge shock at a time when we should have been celebrating, but we just had to get on and cope with it.
“Billy has amazed us all with his strength and courage in dealing with all the investigations and procedures he's had to endure.
“Emily was born during the intensive phase of Billy’s treatment so there were days when I was dealing with both of them being sick at the same time! It was hard sometimes, but Billy’s own courage gave me the strength to cope.
“Billy’s treatment finished in June this year and life is returning to normal for us.”