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Joe’s cancer fight inspires Clumber bike ride

Joe Hogan has bravely fought off leukaemia and now a charity bike ride has been set up for June in Clumber Park.

Joe Hogan has bravely fought off leukaemia and now a charity bike ride has been set up for June in Clumber Park.

Like most other boys his age, little Joe Hogan loves nothing more than to play on his Xbox and ride his bike.

But it hasn’t always been fun and games for the happy-go-lucky six-year old, who has spent much of his life fighting to live.

Joe, from Mansfield, was first diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in January 2010, turning not only his world, but those of his parents, Leanne and William, upside down.

It has also been extremely tough on the rest of the rest of the family - Kiegan, 16, Chloe, 14, Lexi, 4, and Finley, 2.

“When Joe was first diagnosed he had 12 months of intensive chemotherapy and he spent most of that in hospital, so much so that he had to learn to walk again,” said Leanne.

“He had to go into hospital every time he had a temperature of 38, and he could spend days or weeks of a time in there if he had a particular infection.

“Sometimes the infections, rather than the cancer, can be fatal because the chemotherapy knocks out the immune system.

“He was extremely poorly at the time, yet he has always been such a happy boy and taken everything in his stride and just got in with it.

“He’s always got a smile on his face - and he could teach quite a few adults a thing or two in that respect!

“It put a strain on his other siblings because we spent a lot of time in hospital with Joe.

“And because his immune system was low, he couldn’t go out, which meant his younger sister, Lexi, couldn’t either.”

Joe, a pupil at St Philip Neri with St Bede Catholic Primary School, finally beat his cancer in June of last year after three-and-a-half years of intensive and gruelling treatment.

It was a horrible time for the family, but Leanne made a vow to stay strong for Joe, and it makes her hugely appreciative of what she has now he is in remission.

She said: “We were fortunate in that we were living with Joe through it together as a couple, but that’s not always the case with some single parent families, who have to cope on their own.

“As parents you have to work together and stay positive because if you don’t then you will make yourself ill and then you are in no position to help and support your child.

“It’s devastating as parents to learn your child has cancer and there is a prospect you could lose your child.

“We have known other children and their parents who have sadly lost their battle - you get to know other families who are going through the same thing.”

The Hogans are now firmly focused on helping the blood cancer charity Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, having raised almost £4,000 so far.

Their latest venture is the Clumber Park Bikeathon on Sunday 8th June, where entrants can cycle either nine or 19 miles through the picturesque roads and tracks within the Worksop park.

The event was held in the past and then discontinued, but has been reintroduced after Clumber staff members heard Leanne tell Joe’s moving story.

The Bikeathon marks a year on from Joe being given the all-clear, with the last day of his treatment on 12th June 2013.

“There was no hope of survival in 1950 and by 1985, the survival rate was still only 25 per cent, but now it’s up to 80 and 90 per cent in children,” said Leanne.

“It shows the progress being made, but we will never be happy until that rate is up to 100 per cent. We don’t want other families to have to go through what we have.”

Cyclists in the Bikeathon will set off at 10am and the routes will be signposted and marshalled, with refreshment stops available en route.

All early bird riders will receive a free t-shirt and commemorative medal on completion of the Bikeathon.

Among those entering will be former England international and Nottingham Forest and Notts County midfielder Geoff Thomas, himself a survivor of chronic myeloid leukaemia and who has since set up the charity the Geoff Thomas Foundation.

He said: “It’s just over 10 years since I was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood cancer. I’m one of the lucky ones.

“Nottingham, just down the road, is playing a vital role in accelerating the discovery into new treatments that will see more people of all ages survive this dreadful disease.

“Taking part in such a great event in wonderful surroundings will help fund their terrific work.”

Early bird entry fees are £15 per adult (over 12 and under 65), £8 for young riders (six to 12) and £10 for senior riders (over 65).

Children under five are free, but can only ride as passengers or be towed by an adult rider.

There are special family tickets available (£38) for two adults and two young riders at the same address on the same registration.

David Shelton, chairman of the Nottingham Branch of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research who has helped organise the Bikeathon, said: “The Clumber Park Bikeathon is a chance to ride your bike and do so in the knowledge that your efforts are benefiting the fantastic work that Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research do.

“Huge strides have been made in recent years in the fight against blood cancer, meaning more people are being cured, living longer and having far better lives thanks to research funded by events such as this.”

To take part and find out more visit beatbloodcancers.org.uk/clumberparkbikeathon

You can read Leanne’s blog about the bike ride at: leukaemialymphomaresearch.org.uk/news-item/clumber-park-charity-bikeathon-2014 and give to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research at: www.justgiving.com/Joe-Hogan23

 

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