Family raise funds for Childhood Cancer and Leukaemia Group after Barleythorpe toddler battles disease

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A couple have launched a fundraising and awareness drive inspired by their young son’s battle with cancer.

Wendy and James Burgess, of Barleythorpe, were devastated to learn that their two year-old child George had a rare tumour called Wilms - a form of kidney cancer.

He was a happy and healthy two-year-old boy.

But his parents noticed a varicose-type vein that would come and go in his testicle.

After James insisted this wasn’t normal, he was taken to the doctors and after further tests, it was found that he had a large tumour in his kidney, which was pressing on his vein.

Other than that he had no other symptons but just a week after he was diagnosed, George started a gruelling round of chemotherapy and underwent surgery to remove his left kidney, before further chemotherapy.

At the time, Wendy was pregnant with George’s younger brother Oscar.

She said: “It was a shock and I don’t think I’ve ever really absorbed what’s happened.

“The chemotherapy knocked him for six but other than that, he’s coped amazingly well with everything. He looked pretty ghost like but he didn’t lose his hair so he never really looked poorly.

“Since surgery though, he really has got a new lease of life.”

Oscar, now eight months old, was born in November, just two days before George’s last chemotherapy session.

Thankfully tests showed the cancer had not spread and while George continues to be monitored closely by the paediatric oncology team at Leicester Royal Infirmary, he is back to being a cheeky three-year-old.

Now a year on from George’s diagnosis - and now that he is well again - Wendy and James have turned their attention to raising funds for the Leicester-based charity Childhood Cancer and Leukeamia Group - and awareness of this disease. Wilms tumours only affect around 70 children in the UK every year.

On Saturday, they organised a sponsored scootathon at Sykes Lane and more than 30 children took part, including George.

Wendy said: “He was pretty worn out at the end of it and had a little snooze afterwards but he really loved it.”

Scallywags Day Nursery in Oakham, which George attends, also organised a car wash raising £500.

The fundraising efforts have been boosted by funding from Leicester firm Integra Associates, meaning so far they have raised more than £3,000 has already been raised.

The family are planning other fundraising events going forward.

Wendy, 34, who works for BT, said: “We had such overwhelming support ourselves that it just makes you feel like you’re giving something back. At the time people ask if there’s anything they can do and there really isn’t anything but now they can help us with fundraising.”

Wendy also appealed for parents, if they notice anything that unnerves them, to get in touch with a doctor.

She said: “I don’t want everyone to think their child has got cancer but if we hadn’t got it checked out, who knows what might have happened?”

To find out more about George’s story, to donate or to organise your own event, visit http://www.cclg.org.uk/The-Georgie-B-Fund.