Family and friends of a toddler recently diagnosed with cancer are showing their solidarity by having their heads shaved for charity.
Ethan Thompson, who turned three on Sunday, is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after a shock diagnosis earlier this month.
The little boy, who attends Kids United playgroup in Brownstown, had complained of a sore leg and hip and after blood tests at Craigavon he was sent to the Royal where the diagnosis was confirmed.
Ethan’s uncle, Thomas Hughes, is one of around nine volunteers who will be going under the shears at the Royal British Legion in Portadown next Saturday, December 5 to raise money for children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent.
He will be joined by Ethan’s dad Gordon Thompson, his granddad Kenny Thompson, family friends William Sherman and Derek Gilmore among others.
As well as the sponsored head shave, there will be tea and cakes, a children’s party and raffles, with all donations going to CLIC Sargent. The event runs from 2-6pm and everyone is welcome.
Thomas said, “Ethan’s diagnosis has been a huge shock to the entire family. Ethan is only three years old and you do not expect a wee lad of that age to have cancer – it’s just so unfair.
“He is starting to lose his hair due to the chemo and we want to show our support.
“I feel nervous about the head shave but children and young people being treated for cancer don’t have a choice about losing their hair. I know the money is going to a fantastic cause in CLIC Sargent and that is what’s inspiring me to go through with it.”
By the time the group have their heads shaved, Ethan will have completed 28 days of treatment, with his dad and mum Miriam having taken turns travelling from their home just off the Mahon Road to stay with him in hospital.
Ethan, who has two older brothers and an older sister, celebrated his birthday this week with his family and the nurses going out of their way to make the day as special as possible for him.
Fiona McCann, CLIC Sargent fundraising manager, said, “Every week in Northern Ireland two children and young people hear the devastating news they have cancer. Many will lose their hair during treatment and our Big Buzz campaign gives you the chance to show support for them by shaving your head and raising money for CLIC Sargent.
“At the moment we can only help two out of three children and young people diagnosed with cancer. We want to reach as many as possible and with your support we can do this.”