Dec 23 2010 By Paul Mannion, Chester Chronicle
A SIX-YEAR-OLD suffering from leukaemia enjoyed a once- in-a-lifetime trip to meet Santa at Lapland.
Saughall All Saints pupil Jack Ford, of Vernon Close, Saughall, who is undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, was whisked away on a magical journey to meet Santa at his Arctic Circle home earlier this month.
“It was amazing to see him so happy and forgetting about everything,” said Jack’s mum, Kathy, 35, a pharmacy worker.
“It really was fun, you’re there to forget and have as much fun as possible.
“The whole day was amazing from start to finish.
“Seeing Jack’s face when he got to meet Santa, watching him on the Snowmobiles, having a sleigh ride through the enchanted forest and having all the fun a six year old could have. It was a once in a life time thing.”
Jack has battled leukaemia since he was diagnosed in January. He is due to start his next course of treatment on Wednesday.
“We were told if we hadn’t got the treatment within two weeks it might be different, and within four weeks, he wouldn’t be here,” added Kathy, who is married to Graham 45, and has two other children, Chelsea, 16, and Jade aged 12.
“We take every day as it comes, we’re very grateful Jack’s with us because a lot of people are worse off.
“We just enjoy every day and deal with it as it comes.
“He’s amazing, he’s so happy.
“He’s the life and soul, bouncing about, laughing and joking with his mates.
“We’re all really proud.
“He has to take medicine which he’s never really had to do before and have injections that don’t make him feel well.
“He gets very tired easily and can’t walk that far.
“He can’t go into crowded places, like play centres.
“We try to make it as fun as possible but it’s changed a lot of the things he would like to do, like running about or playing sport.
“We’ll have to see for a year, the steroids got rid of most it but it’s ongoing.”
Despite severe side effects from his treatment for the illness, and a central line to his chest to receive medicines, Jack still regularly attends the Church Road school.
“It’s really important to be with his friends and keep up with them,” said Kathy.
“It can be very difficult, with the treatment Jack gets very tired so we don’t take him on those days, but the school have been absolutely brilliant, if there’s any thing going around the school they ring us in the morning.
“You have to keep things as normal as possible.
“It’s important that we don’t treat Jack any differently.
Jack joined about 94 children, aged from 2-to-16, suffering from life threatening illnesses, thanks to the When You Wish Upon a Star charity.
Stars from fictional Chester based soap Hollyoaks, Holby City, Coronation Street and the SugaBabes also joined the annual flight to the Arctic Circle.
Charity spokesperson Sue Hickling said: “This is an amazing day for the children, one they will truly never forget.
“If people could see just how brave these youngsters are and what they have to put up with on an almost daily basis, they would be absolutely amazed.”