Brave teenager Joshua to tell of miracle cancer recovery at a special service
A schoolboy who has made a miraculous recovery from a rare and life-threatening cancer is to tell his astonishing story at a special service in Bangor later this month.
Joshua Martin (14) was told last month that there are no signs of the disease in his system and no indication of cancer growth.
The Donaghadee teenager was given a bombshell diagnosis of cancer on Christmas Eve last year and underwent a gruelling regime of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery to remove tumours, some of which doctors had warned were inoperable.
Speaking last night after posting a Facebook invitation to people to come to Bangor Elim Church - where Joshua's dad Tim is a pastor - his mum Kim said the skill of Joshua's medical team and the prayers of everyone who joined the family's Pray for Josh Facebook appeal had saved their son's life.
"This is an opportunity for Joshua to tell his own amazing story which included six months in hospital, operations, blood transfusions and chemotherapy and radiotherapy. There will be a few videos and lots of photographs of him throughout that time and Tim and I may also say a few words if we are brave enough," she said.
"We have issued this invitation to everyone. It doesn't matter what side of the community they come from or whether they normally go to church or not. We know that people of all denominations and none and from all walks of life prayed for Josh's recovery and we are just so grateful to them".
She added: "Josh is now back at school full-time and the pupils and staff, especially the principal Mrs Huddleson, have pulled out the stops for him. He obviously still has to go for regular check-ups at hospital and he occasionally complains about the amount of school work he has to do. He is in Year 11 and doing his GCSE coursework which can be pretty full-on."
Both his parents are amazed at Josh's energy levels. Dad Tim recalled how his son rode 48K on his bicycle over two days last weekend. "I was barely able to do 10K with him", he joked. "That answers any questions you might have about how he is feeling at the moment".
Kim says they can barely keep up with their son and his social life. "After all he has been through he is making up for lost time. I suppose that is natural when he has been ill for so long. When you have a new opportunity and a new lease of life you appreciate every single thing. Remember that he didn't get out of bed between January and April this year.
"He has a really good bunch of friends both in the church and at school and he is enjoying going out with them as often as possible. There is not much he wouldn't try and has fewer of the concerns or reservations he had before."
Kim praised the medical teams at the Royal Victoria Hospital and Belfast City Hospital for their skill and care. "They were outstanding and I cannot praise them enough. But I also believe that prayer got him through and returned him to being a lively teenager. He was gravely ill as will be seen from the photographs to be shown at the service. To hear his oncologist tell us last month that there was now no evidence of the disease was the answer to our prayers and all those who joined with us in praying for his recovery. In our darkest hours people were carrying us as a family. No one will ever know how much we appreciated that.
"A while ago we were writing out some of our thoughts about the past year and it is hard to remember some of the awful details and what he went through and the trauma he endured. It has made us incredibly thankful to God on how He has turned Josh's life around."
The service will be held at Bangor Elim Church on November 29 at 6.30pm.