A WALK of courage is being organised to honour and support children battling cancer.
The event, on Sunday September 21, is being held by Be Child Cancer Aware, whose co-founders John and Sarah Drummond, from Wickford.
The couple helped start the charity after their son Ted, now seven, bravely fought life-threatning leukaemia and septicemia when he was six months old.
It led to his well-deserved nickname “Superted”.
Thewalk will begin at 10.40am, leaving the Sainsbury’s Eastmayne store, in Basildon, heading towards Basildon Hospital, via the town centre, and then returning to the store along the same route.
Unlike many other charities, Be Child Cancer Aware is run by unpaid workers and every penny raised goes towards raising awareness to the symptoms of childhood cancer.
It also supports its now worldfamous beads of courage programme, which sees youngsters collecting multi-coloured beads for every treatment, operation and procedure they go through.
John said: “Sainsbury’s Eastmayne has made Be Child Cancer Aware its charity of the year and we are thrilled.
“To mark the partnership we’ve been working together to bring our annual Walk of Courage to a wider audience.
“Staff, families, friends and former child cancer patients are all going to be participating and we hope Echo readers will get behind us and join in too.”
The walk will be led by six VIPs – children from Basildon and Thurrock who have been through or are currently fighting cancer and have received their Beads of Courage.
John said: “These VIPs will start the walk at the front, each holding a bag containing about 500 new Helping Hand beads we will be sending to all children around the UK on the beads programme.
“It’s hard to imagine just three years ago, when we first introduced the programme into the UK at Basildon Hospital, we had about 15 children start.
“Today we have over 70 hospitals supporting more than 4,000 children in England and all over the British Isles.”
Among the VIPS joining Superted on the walk are Laila Truss, aged 16, from South Ockendon. Brave Laila was told she had a form of cancer when she was 14 and since then has undergone two and a half years of treatment.
Her mum, Emma, 36, said: “The beads help us look back at what she has achieved.”
Jack Bowden, five, from Basildon, will also take part. He was diagnosed at 18 months with an ependymoma (brain tumour).
He had surgery and just over a year of chemotherapy.
Mum Sara said: “The beads were always a great way to get Jack to smile again, especially after a horrible procedure. They are also very precious to me.”