Keep praying for Joshua, asks mum as her boy faces fresh cancer surgery
The mother of Joshua Martin has asked supporters to pray for her son as he battles against cancer.
The Co Down teenager, who has inspired the international social media campaign #PrayForJosh, is to undergo major surgery today to hopefully remove three more tumours from his stomach during bowel surgery.
The 14-year-old has already undergone six rounds of chemotherapy and previous surgery to remove tumours since he was diagnosed with cancer last Christmas Eve.
His mother Kim Martin says that Joshua and her family are convinced that he will ultimately be cured of cancer though the power of prayer.
"We just want people to be with us in prayer today and if we could ask just one thing of people, that would be to pray for him," she told the Belfast Telegraph yesterday.
"Joshua has been outstanding for a wee boy and everything he has been through.
"He does my heart good. Every picture we post of him, he's still always smiling.
"He just does what he has to do and gets on with it.
"Joshua has been absolutely brilliant throughout all of this. We all believe that he will walk away from this latest challenge as well."
Mrs Martin explained that further surgery was always planned for Joshua, but only when consultants at the RVH believed medical conditions were right.
"The doctors run the chemo until it has its optimum effect and then they decide when it is the best time to have surgery.
"This surgery will be followed by further chemotherapy and radiotherapy," she said.
Joshua is the eldest son of Pastor Tim Martin from Bangor Elim Church and Kim, who live in Donaghadee.
The deeply religious family have been through an unimaginable whirlwind since they were told last Christmas Eve that Joshua had numerous tumours, some of them inoperable.
Initially, he had been admitted to hospital with severe stomach pain, which was thought to have been as a result of a burst appendix.
However, once the full picture of the severity of their son's condition became clear, supporters of the family began a campaign of prayer for Joshua through local churches, which developed internationally.
Sports stars such as golfer Sergio Garcia and boxer Wayne McCullough have posted Facebook pictures in support of the social media campaign.
Mrs Martin added: "It's been a very difficult last five months. We have had thousands upon thousands of people who have contacted us to tell us they are praying for Joshua.
"We've even had someone from Finland and someone from Zimbabwe the other day who got in touch.
"People keep asking us what they can do and our priority is: 'Pray for our son'.
"It's like we are all of one accord, we are all praying to God and believe that our son will be well.
"We believe Joshua will be healed, there is absolutely no doubt of that."
She added: "He has such a strong faith and he's an incredible young man."
Joshua, who has a younger brother David, turned 14 on Friday and was treated to a day out at Belfast Zoo, where he was given special access to feed the animals.
Mrs Martin says that she and her husband have been wonderfully supported by her mother Jill and Tim's parents Mavis and Carl, as well as his school, Bangor Grammar.
"I don't know how we would have managed without our parents' support, as we have been at the Royal Victoria day and night, basically, with Joshua."
Story so far
Joshua Martin (14) has become an international symbol of hope through prayer after supporters launched a #prayforjosh social media campaign following news of his cancer battle. The Bangor Grammar student and his family from Donaghadee, Co Down, heard on Christmas Eve, 2014 he had several tumours in his stomach, some of them inoperable. He has undergone surgery and chemotherapy.