Sunday, 21 February 2021 23:08

Friends will run for Oxford hospital where Josh Blake is being treated for lymphona Featured

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SCHOOLFRIENDS in Devizes have raised more than £3,100 for the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where one of their mates is being treated for Hodgkin Lymphoma.

They launched the fundraising appeal a week ago after Josh Blake, 17, was diagnosed with the cancer, which affects the lymphatic system.

Matt Caslin, 17, of Roundway and a Year 12 pupil at Devizes School, said they set a target of just £200 but have already smashed through it to raise more than ten times that amount.

The money will help the hospital’s League of Friends to buy much-needed lifesaving equipment.

Mr Caslin added: "Our friend Josh Blake is being treated for lymphoma at John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford.

"Myself and my friends know it’s a tough time for he and his family so we set up a fundraiser for the hospital where he’s being treated.

“A few of us asked for sponsorship as we are going to run a half marathon on March 7.

"We set a goal of £200 to raise for the hospital and in under ten hours we have raised over £2,000.”

The group running the half marathon are Matt Caslin, Ashton Hibbert, 16; Alex Kimber, 17, and their old Devizes Town Football Club coach Dec McEniry.

Josh, of Longcroft Road, left Devizes School in the summer and is now studying Sport Level 3 at Lackham College.

He said: "I felt a lump in my neck around Christmas. There was no pain but it just got bigger.

"About three weeks after Christmas, I decided to get it checked out at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon.

"They sent me to the John Radcliffe, where they did a biopsy and removed two lymph nodes from my neck."

"On Monday (February 15) the diagnosis came through that it was Hodgkin Lymphona. I'm now going to the John Radcliffe Hospital for chemotherapy sessions.

"I think what my friends are doing is amazing. I didn't think they would get anywhere near as much as they have," said Josh, who wants to become a personal trainer or nutritionist.

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