Liam Fairhurst Wins Child Of Courage At Pride of Britain Award
PUBLISHED: 18:15 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:32 04 May 2010
LIAM Fairhurst has been named as a Child of Courage at the Daily Mirror s Pride of Britain Awards 2008. Despite losing a friend to cancer while battling the disease himself, Liam, aged 13 who lives in Soham, set out on a mission to raise £150,000 for
LIAM Fairhurst has been named as a Child of Courage at the Daily Mirror's Pride of Britain Awards 2008.
Despite losing a friend to cancer while battling the disease himself, Liam, aged 13 who lives in Soham, set out on a mission to raise £150,000 for the CLIC Sargent charity which helps children and their families with the disease.
Liam's journey began in 2005 when he was diagnosed with a tumour in his left leg at just 10-years-old. During his treatment, he became friends with 12-year-old Jack Wilkinson, who was also suffering from cancer.
Throughout their time together in hospital, Jack gave Liam the strength to endure seven courses of chemotherapy, six weeks of daily radiotherapy and an operation to remove the tumour - along with half of his thigh muscle.
Tragically Jack lost his fight with the disease in August 2006. Devastated but determined to honour his friend, Liam dedicated himself to raising enough money to pay for a holiday home for families living with childhood cancer to visit in between treatment.
"I wanted to make sure Jack's memory would live on and that we would have something to remember him by that other people could enjoy. It's what he would have wanted," said Liam.
Although barely able to walk, he bravely pledged to complete a one mile sponsored swim in dedication to his friend.
To rally support Liam approached Star Radio and breakfast presenter Mark Peters was so impressed by his fund-raising efforts he decided to help him reach his £1,000 target by launching Liam's Mile.
Even before he had entered the pool to start his challenge, Liam had smashed his original target by reaching an impressive £12,000.
Liam's dream was finally realised last year when the family-friendly caravan called Liam and Jack's Haven was opened on the east Yorkshire coast and now caters for up to 30 families a year completely free of charge.
In May 2007, the Ely Standard launched its own fund-raising campaign called Liam's Fund and in the last 18 months our readers have raised more than £50,000 for the CLIC Sargent charity.
But as Liam set his sights on raising a further £100,000 for children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent, the family received the devastating news that the cancer had spread to Liam's right lung and he continues to receive treatment for the disease.
Liam's mum Sarah, 41, said: "Liam's a fighter and we feel blessed to have him in our family - he's the one who has made us stronger and just seeing him doing what he believes in makes you value life more and more every day. Liam met lots of celebs and was given his award by Sir Richard Branson and Rebecca Allington. Sir Richard has offered the whole family a holiday on his private island which Liam's response was 'wow'. Liam says he was so nervous and excited that he missed out all his 'thank yous'.
Now in its 10th year, Pride of Britain has become the biggest national event of its kind, celebrating the achievements of our country's unsung heroes, and was screened last night (Wednesday).
Prince Charles and Prime Minister Gordon Brown join more than 100 of the country's biggest stars - including David Beckham, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Michael Caine, Emma Bunton, Geri Halliwell, Ant & Dec, Kevin Spacey, Bruce Forsyth and Gordon Ramsay - in saluting the incredible real-life winners.