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Footie unites Liam's family and friends after six-month hell

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: December 08, 2013

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Janet Kirk knew something wasn't right with her four-year-old son Liam when he started limping at nursery.

And her very worst fears were confirmed when doctors told her and husband Phillip that Liam had leukaemia.

They've since had to see Liam go through 100 rounds of chemotherapy, which meant he wasn't able to start school alongside his friends in September.

After seeing what the family had been through since Liam was diagnosed in May, friends Abbi and Ben Eden and Gary Holvey wanted to do something to help make their lives a little bit better.

So they arranged a surprise fundraising football match at Lincoln United's ground on Sunday.

Janet, 29, said: "This is our first family day for six months. He hasn't seen his best friend Harry for ages. They've known each other since they were five months old and it's brilliant to see them playing together again like normal four-year-olds.

"We're so grateful to Harry's parents and Gary for organising today. It was a lovely surprise to find out all the hard work that had gone into it.

"The past six months have been really hard but we've pulled together as a family. I've cut down at work and Phillip has taken a career break so all our time is focused on being there for Liam and Jack, who is just 22 months old.

"I knew something wasn't right with him when he started limping in nursery.

"It went away briefly but I knew in my gut that something wasn't right.

"We went up to Newcastle to visit my family and the limp came back. My parents told me to take him to the doctors as soon as we got home.

"The doctor said he had inflammation on his knees and an enlarged liver and spleen.

"I went away and Googled his symptoms and I just knew it was leukaemia. We took him to hospital over the May Bank Holiday and they took bloods and a bone marrow sample.

"They rushed him to Nottingham's children's cancer ward. We were left in limbo about the treatment options until the next day.

"When the doctor confirmed it was leukaemia my worst fears were confirmed.

"We chose a different line for his drugs to go into his system so he can still go swimming and have a bath – both of which he loves to do. I can't believe how many people turned up to support us today."

Liam responded well to treatment at first but the family were hit with another blow when he was diagnosed with steroid-induced diabetes.

He is back in hospital this week for another round of chemotherapy and the family are hoping he will not have to spend all of Christmas on the ward.

The family hope Liam will be well enough to start school at Easter.

His dad Phillip, 32, works for Morrisons supermarket in Tritton Road.

He said: "Work have been brilliant since I told them the situation. They've let me take a career break and the lads took part in the match too.

"It's been such a blessing being able to be there for Liam, Janet and Jack. I'll be going back to work when Liam's next big bout of treatment is finished."

The game between Morrisons and Western Power was won 6-0 by Western Power.

The event raised £1,151 through the players paying £5 to play and spectators paying a minimum of a pound to watch the game. The family are putting the money towards a trip to Disneyland Paris when Liam's treatment is over.

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