Doncaster youngster meets PM’s wife at Downing Street

Samantha Cameron meets Finlay Sanderson at 10 Downing Street.
Samantha Cameron meets Finlay Sanderson at 10 Downing Street.

A youngster from Doncaster suffering from leukaemia was guest of honour at 10 Downing Street.

Finlay Sanderson, aged six, met Prime Minister David Cameron’s wife Samantha at the event, staged to raise awareness of children affected by blood cancer.

She met Finlay and other children and their families as part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to celebrate the vital role that blood cancer charity Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research has played in improving survival rates for childhood leukaemia, and to highlight the research the charity is doing into less toxic cancer treatments for children.

Finlay was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in May 2012, when he was four. He needed intensive treatment, and missed seven months of school. He is now back at school and on gentler maintenance treatment.

Finlay said: “It was a really good experience. Downing Street was like a mansion and it was cool to meet Mrs Cameron.”

Just 50 years ago, fewer than one in 10 children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, the most common form of childhood leukaemia, survived for over five years. Now, nine in 10 children will survive, but treatment is gruelling, can last up to three years, and chemotherapy can leave some children with long-term health issues such as infertility, lung problems and secondary cancers.

Cathy Gilman, chief executive of LLR, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Mrs Cameron for inviting us to Downing Street, and listening to our patients’ stories.”

“Treatment for childhood leukaemia has come such a long way in terms of improving survival rates, but sadly some children are left with long-term side effects as a result of their treatment.

“We won’t stop until every child diagnosed with a blood cancer not only survives, but is free to live their life to the full, both during and after treatment.”

For more information on LLR and its work visit Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research