Pray for Josh each day at 11am, mum of cancer-stricken boy urges readers
The parents of a Northern Ireland schoolboy diagnosed with cancer last Christmas Eve have appealed for the public to continue praying for him as he undergoes his treatment.
Joshua Martin from Donaghadee is now in his second week of radiotherapy at Belfast City Hospital but his mother Kim has spoken of her pride at how he is "smiling" through the treatment.
"Joshua is always smiling no matter what he has been through. He has had nearly eight months of treatment, countless surgeries and chemo and now this. It does tire him out," she said.
"But he is 14 and it does my heart good to see what he is going through and how he copes. I've never seen or heard him complain or even get angry. He just loves life and he appreciates everything."
Kim and her husband Tim said the support they have received from friends, family and strangers has helped them through the "most horrific year".
"It's really been a lifeline for us," she said. It has been an incredibly difficult year for us as a family. People are thinking of us, praying for us and loving us throughout all of this. It has been quite amazing."
In particular Kim said their church, Bangor Elim, and pastor Gary Beattie have been very supportive.
"I think they have texted us nearly every day. When something like this happens all of those people have just helped us. It is so hard to explain."
The family have now asked for people to pray for Joshua, a pupil at Bangor Grammar School, at 11am every day to help him get through the treatment.
"People have asked us what they can do. I thought if they can pray for him at 11am. As a mummy I can't physically be in the room with him, I would love to be," she added.
Joshua's ordeal began when before Christmas it was initially suspected he had appendicitis.
But the family were left devastated when doctors discovered numerous tumours in his abdomen during surgery.
However, rather than having a two-hour operation for what they thought was appendicitis - he was operated on for almost seven hours. It was after this surgery that the shock news was broken to them.
His struggle against the disease captured the hearts of thousands of strangers from around the world who sent messages of support via the #PrayforJosh hashtag on Twitter.
A roadside billboard bearing the hashtag #PrayforJosh could even be seen by motorists travelling between Belfast and Bangor earlier this year.
Famous golfer Sergio Garcia was among the wellwishers posting a photograph of himself holding the family's social media campaign slogan, accompanied by the message, "Sending love and good vibes to Josh and his family #prayforjosh".
"As a mum it's been horrific watching your child in pain," Kim added.
"I can't imagine anything worse than watching your child go through that. So knowing that people are carrying us through this means the world to us. Every small message gives us more hope - even from strangers. It has helped us more than I can say. They have been incredible through our darkest hour."
His mum has also praised the team of radiotherapists at the City Hospital as "just amazing".