A determined eight-year-old boy has completed 33 quirky challenges to raise over £10k for his “hero” dad after he was tragically diagnosed with stage four cancer.
Little James-Lee Howick blew out 33 candles, ate 33 sweets, and juggled 33 kick-ups in a bid to lift his family’s spirits after the devastating news.
He turned the “worst week” of the family’s lives into cute challenges they all looked forward to each day.
The young lad has completed challenges involving the number 33, which is the age his dad Lee turns later this year, and raised over £12,000 so far.
James-Lee said he wanted to do anything he could to help his hero, who is now receiving intense chemotherapy to save his life.
James-Lee said: : “Daddy’s my hero so I wanted to do anything I could to help.
“Some of the challenges were really difficult, but also fun.
“I hope we can help daddy get the treatment he needs.”
Dad Lee, 32, was diagnosed with cancer on March 10 just days before the birth of his daughter Dorothy.
The dad-of-two had been suffering with painful bowel issues for months but doctors were unable to explain why.
But after he had a seizure in his bathroom in March, he was rushed to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
He woke up in a daze surrounded by tearful family members before he was told that a CT scan revealed multiple tumours which had spread from his bowels to his liver, lungs, and brain.
They performed emergency brain surgery to remove two tumours and he’s currently receiving intense chemotherapy to give him a fighting chance.
Lee, a building surveyor from Blackpool, Lancs., said: “I was really worried because I was in constant pain.
“They were going to remove a foot of my bowel. I felt like my stomach was going to blow up.
“I’m a healthy person. Before these bowel issues I had no health concerns.
“All I know is one day I woke up in hospital and I was surrounded by my family and they were all crying.
“To be honest it’s taken 12 weeks and it still hasn’t sunk in.
“For me I’m being positive, that’s all I can do. I’m taking it each day at a time and hoping for good news.”
He added: “I don’t want to know how long I’ve got left.”
But the dad said he’s “beyond proud” of his son James-Lee after his month-long efforts to raise funds.
Lee said: “It’s been amazing to see him do the challenges each day.
“He’s that type of boy, it wasn’t out of the ordinary and didn’t shock me at all.
“He’s always trying to do any little thing he can to help – I’m beyond proud of him.
“He loves seeing people smile and he’s certainly made me smile.
“I don’t think he’s realised how incredible what he’s done is, because it’s just normal for him.
“He’s got a great head on his shoulders. I’ve got no worries about the man he’ll grow up to be.
“I think a couple of days ago it finally hit him why he was doing all of this. That he was doing it to keep me alive.
“It upset him a bit.”
He added: “But it’s been hard to see your child take care of you, when you should be taking care of him.”
Lee’s finance Stacey gave birth to their first child together – little Dorothy – just days after they were given the devastating news.
Stacey, who is a neonatal sister at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, said the cancer diagnosis was the “worst week of our lives”.
The 31-year-old said: “I thought it had to be something to do with his bowel, I never thought it would be cancer.
“It didn’t feel real, it was a total shock.
“It was so devastating to find out the cancer had spread everywhere.
“That first week was the worst week of our lives.
“But now we’re seeing that Lee’s still got that positive attitude he always has.”
She said that the challenges have helped the family keep a positive attitude during this tumultuous time.
She said: “I think what James-Lee is doing is brilliant especially during lockdown.
“It’s given all of us something to look forward to.
“The NHS have been brilliant but this fundraiser could give us the opportunity to get different holistic treatments for Lee.”
You can donate to the family’s cause here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/2wkdk-my-daddys-treatment