The family of a young boy handed a “devastating” bone cancer diagnosis aged just seven have spoken about his incredible bravery battling the disease.

John Middleton, from Winestead in Holderness, had an innocuous fall just before his seventh birthday, with hospital staff telling his parents they believed he had “just pulled a muscle”.

But less than a month later Josh broke his leg when his mum, Sarah, lifted him out of the bath.

Doctors discovered cancer high in his femur, with the youngster's leg broken for an incredible five months as the injury had to be treated by chemotherapy first.

John alongside his mum, Sarah
John alongside his mum, Sarah

Mrs Middleton, 38, recalled hearing his leg “break” when she was helping John up out the bath, as his condition had got to such a state that he was unable to walk after his fall a few weeks before.

“It was cancer. They thought it was just a cyst,” she said.

“It’s awful. It’s devastating. You can’t describe it in words how hard it is to describe it.

“He had a fall in November 2015 just before his seventh birthday.

He missed a year of school to undergo treatment for bone cancer
He missed a year of school to undergo treatment for bone cancer

“We didn’t think anything of it but he started limping. We took him to the GP and they sent us to Hull Royal. They though he had just pulled a muscle.

“When it got to Christmas he couldn’t walk.

“We came home from hospital on Christmas Eve and he broke his leg on the fifth of January.

“I lifted him out of the bath and you could hear it break.”

Thankfully, John, now 10, is now almost cancer free but his mum and dad, Dave Middleton, 52, are aware there is always a chance it may return.

John and his dad, Dave
John and his dad, Dave

However, John has internal prosthetics in his leg and still has to undergo two procedures a year to extend his prosthesis as he continues to grow.

His incredible fightback has been a joy to see for his parents, who have been alongside him every step of the way.

The brave 10-year-old has also been given an extra boost to his confidence by a special project organised by the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

 

Every year, he and a group of youngsters who have suffered similar hardships get the opportunity to go sailing to help them learn new skills, rebuild their confidence and re-engage with education.

John enjoyed his third trip this year, a week sailing on the Firth of Clyde in Scotland.

Speaking about his experience on his adventures on the water, he said: “The trips are important because we get to talk to new people that are just like us and we can talk about things we might not be able to talk about with our friends from school.

He loves his trips away learning to sail and making new friends
He loves his trips away learning to sail and making new friends

“It was my third trip and it was the best one yet. I met two people that had the same cancer as me.

"It was good to talk about it with them as I don’t like talking about my cancer.

"It was very good spending time with other young people who have been through similar situations.”

 

He has always enjoyed making the several-hundred mile trip north for his week of learning and enjoyment, however his mum says she was initially worried when the idea was floated.

“One of the nurses asked if he’d like to go. I was a bit wary at first but he’s loved it ever since,” Mrs Middleton said.

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