BRAVE little Harrison Cochrane knows just what friends are for.
The five-year-old is battling late stage Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which has caused cancerous tumours to grow in his chest and stomach.
However, despite all the gruelling treatments he’s going through, Harrison is planning on taking part in this year’s Relay For Life, at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow, in July, to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
But if the youngster isn’t well enough to run round the track – as he will be starting radiotherapy just weeks beforehand – his Year 1 classmates at Westoe Crown Primary School, in South Shields, are going to give him a helping push in his wheelchair.
Mum Claire Cochrane, who is married to Peter, 32, a gas and oil industry worker, said: “Harrison has been a little soldier through everything, and he tries to go to school as much as he can.
“He knows he has cancer, but he doesn’t really grasp what this means, he just know it makes him unwell, but this means he’s just got on with things and he’s taken it all in his stride.
Harrison’s coped so well throughout it all
“But his little friends have been brilliant, they’ve all taken him under their wing and they look after him.
“It’s wonderful that they all want to take part in the Relay, and we want to raise as much money as we can for charity.”
In December 2013, Harrison experienced a number of seizures. He was also losing weight, complaining of pains in his hips and suffering from night sweats.
After visiting various hospitals, including South Tyneside District Hospital, Palmer Community Hospital in Jarrow and Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) and the Freeman, all that could be found was that Harrison had something irregular going on with his heartbeat.
However, almost a year later, on November 30, 2014 Harrison’s lips turned blue and his mum dashed him to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Claire, who is also mum to Nathan, 20, said: “He wasn’t well at all, by this time he’d lost so much weight you could see his ribs, and his chest had sunken in.
“They did tests and found his liver and spleen were enlarged and they said I should get Peter, who was working in Thailand, to come home right away.”
The following day medics told the couple, who live at the Riverside, in South Shields, that their son had Hodgkin’s lymphoma – an uncommon cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels and glands spread throughout the body.
Harrison then had to start six round of chemotherapy – of which the final round is due to finish just before his sixth birthday on May 29.
Despite this, he only misses about four days of school with each dose.
However, last month he travelled to London for a special scan at St Thomas’ Hospital in London – which showed that his cancer is still active.
This means he will soon have to start radiotherapy.
Claire, who works as a pharmacy dispenser, said: “Harrison’s coped so well throughout it all. He did take it hard when his hair fell out, but it’s starting to grow back now, so we’re hoping his final round of chemo and the radiotherapy won’t affect it.
“He is obsessed with his beads of courage. That’s really helped him with a lot of his medicines.
“Every time he is brave, or has to go through something unpleasant, he gets a bead to put on his special wire – he has about 200 of them now and he loves it.
“We are really hoping he is going to be well enough for the Relay, or at least able to be pushed round in his chair, but until the radiotherapy starts, we just don’t know at the moment.”
Claire added: “We would just like to thank everyone at the RVI for all of their support, the staff become your family.
“You don’t realise how much you need their services until you’re thrown into the deep end like we have been, and we’re very grateful.”
To sponsor Harrison and his friends, visit https://www.justgiving.com/harrisonsheroes