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Back to his best!

Date published: 20 December 2013

LITTLE Alex Vaughan is about to perform the most important role of his young life - as best man at his parents’ wedding.

The seven year old soccer fan has had a tough time since being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in January.

But he is now back on his feet and excitedly looking forward to this Sunday, when he will hand over the rings as his mother Kim Cocker marries his father, Luke Vaughan.

Alex, who has just returned full-time to Christ Church Primary School in Chadderton, has spent most of this year battling cancer. His courage earned him a Little Star award from Cancer Research UK.

His ordeal began at the start of the year when his mother spotted a bruise on his back.

“Alex is football mad so I was used to seeing bruises on his shins but this was different. Alarm bells started to ring straight away.”

Doctors thought he had an infection, but further bruises appeared on his fingers and palms and doctors eventually confirmed they suspected leukaemia.

Kim said: “Even though I’d been researching leukaemia, I was devastated when doctors confirmed it Nothing prepares you for being told your child has cancer.”

Alex underwent a month of chemotherapy in hospital and was included in a groundbreaking children’s cancer trial, one of 21 across the UK.

Alex still goes to the hospital every week for treatment or blood tests, has chemotherapy every month - which will continue for another three years - and takes steroids regularly. Other tablets guard against a specific type of pneumonia.

“There have been times over the year when we feared the worst. He wanted to know everything that was happening to him and got very depressed at one stage because he thought he was dying.

“He hated losing his hair and didn’t want anyone to see him like that, so it’s really wonderful to see him so full of life again, back playing his beloved football and with so much to look forward to.

“He’s learned that you can go through this horrible disease and get well. It doesn’t have to be a death sentence.”

At Sunday’s wedding in Preston, Alex will be joined by his little brother Dylan (2), who is guest of honour for the day.

Kim said: “Alex is so excited about being best man, but he is a bit nervous too. Every day he counts down the days to the wedding. His dad asked him to be his best man because he is his best friend. That was in October, last year, and when Alex got poorly he didn’t think he would be able to do it.

“We kept the wedding date because it gave him, and us as a family, something to focus on.”


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