Nominate your little cancer star

Ryan Walker with his Gold Star Award in 2014

Ryan Walker with his Gold Star Award in 2014

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As childhood cancer rates are falling, the family of a young boy who has battled cancer is urging people to nominate brave youngsters who are also fighting the disease.

Cancer Research UK has revealed the rate of children dying from the illness in Lancashire has fallen by 25 per cent since the early 2000s.

Ryan Walker with his mum and dad, Rachel and Stephen, and big brother Ethan

Ryan Walker with his mum and dad, Rachel and Stephen, and big brother Ethan

But around 175 under 15s are diagnosed with cancer each year in the region and around 25 youngsters still die from the disease every year.

As the charity recognises the bravery of every child or teenager who is battling cancer, it has launched its annual Kids and Teens’s Star Awards.

Rachel Walker’s five-year-old son, Ryan, was honoured with the award in 2014 shortly after he was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumour after he had spotting blood in his nappy.

He began an immediate course of chemotherapy which successfully shrunk the tumour by 30 per cent.

He then underwent surgery to remove the tumour and his kidney.

Ryan, of Penwortham, continued to receive chemotherapy treatment until May last year.

The St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Primary School pupil has now been cancer-free for 18 months.

Rachel said: “We’re so grateful for the treatment that saved Ryan’s life. Success stories like ours would not be possible without Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work.

“We would urge anyone who knows a child going through cancer treatment to nominate them for the award as it meant so much to us a family.”

The Star Awards, which celebrate the courage of children affected by cancer, are sponsored by TK Maxx and backed by a host of famous faces including Strictly Star and Olympic long jumper and medalist Greg Rutherford, professional dancers Karen and Kevin Clifton and children’s television star Mister Maker.

There is no judging panel and recipients get a unique trophy, a £50 TK Maxx gift card and a certificate signed by celebrities.

Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens spokesman for the North West, said: “It is a privilege to recognise the courage of children with cancer with a Star Award and we would like to encourage anyone who knows an inspirational youngster like Ryan to nominate them now.

“It’s especially important that we concentrate on improving their quality of life after treatment. Many children who survive cancer will live with long-term side effects from their treatment which may have an impact on them as adults. So it’s vital that we find treatments that are not only better at treating the cancer but also have fewer side effects.”

Cancer Research UK’s Kids & Teens Star Awards are open to all under-18s who have cancer or who have been treated for the disease in the last five years.

To nominate a child for an award, donate or fund-raise in support of Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens, visit http://cruk.org/kidsandteens.