Joy as Josh Martin's cancer growth is halted
The parents of teenage cancer victim Josh Martin revealed last night that a new scan has shown that his cancer has stopped growing.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Kim and Tim Martin shared their joy at the news they - as well as thousands of well-wishers in Northern Ireland and beyond - have been praying for since the 14-year-old was first diagnosed on Christmas Eve 2014.
"We got a phone call with a last minute cancellation for Joshua's MRI scan and we've just received the results," said excited mum Kim.
"The cancer has stopped growing and there are no new tumours.
"They also think that some of the cancer cells might even be dying.
"How amazing is that!
"We are literally jumping for joy - God is so good.
"It's just the most wonderful, brilliant news," said dad Tim, a pastor at Bangor's Elim Pentecostal church.
Before Donaghadee boy Josh first fell ill, he was rushed to hospital with suspected appendicitis.
Doctors found aggressive tumours in his abdomen and the teenager came close to death as he underwent months of invasive surgery and chemotherapy.
Despite the diagnosis that some of the tumours were inoperable, Kim and her husband Tim, who are devout Christians, believed he could be cured.
Tim started the #PrayforJosh campaign which gained support from all over the world - including celebrities such as superstar golfers Rory McIlroy, from nearby Holywood, and Spain's Sergio Garcia as well as top TV broadcaster Piers Morgan.
Just over a year ago, in November 2015, Josh appeared in front of hundreds of people at his father's church to thank them for their prayers which he said saved his life.
But in October this year, mum Kim revealed that some cancerous tumours had returned - and she called on well-wishers to pray for her son again.
Josh had his latest MRI scan at the end of last week, and the Royal Victoria Hospital consultant Dr Robert Johnston phoned the Martin family with the good news yesterday.
"We're so grateful to Dr Robert Johnston," said Kim.
"He works day and night to help children with cancer."
Last night Josh was said to be taking things easy, playing with his Xbox.
"He's very matter of fact, he takes it all in his stride," said Kim.
The joyful parents thanked everyone who had sent messages of support for Josh since his diagnosis.
"We're so grateful to everyone who shared our social media posts, liked our Facebook page and prayed for Josh," they said.
"We can't keep up with all the lovely comments that are flooding in.
"This is a wonderful, early Christmas present - we are excited beyond words," they added.
"God is good - in all circumstances."