A BRAVE youngster was given the honour of starting this year's Race for Life in Leigh.

Lucas Thorpe was a guest of honour at this weekend’s event at Pennington Flash and sounded the horn to signal the start of the 5k race to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

The three-year-old, from Hindsford, Atherton, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when he was aged just 11 months when doctors found a tumour on his bladder.

His proud mum, Jodie Rothwell, said: “I’m so grateful for the research that helped Lucas and I wanted to help others by supporting Cancer Research UK’s work and taking part in Race for Life.”

Just three days after the tumour was found, Lucas’s kidneys failed and he had to be kept in the high dependency unit until he was stable enough to undergo surgery.

The tumour was successfully removed from his bladder but it had already spread to his urethra and prostate and a biopsy revealed Lucas had rhabdomyosarcoma - a rare form of cancer in a baby.

As well as chemotherapy, the youngster had to have specialist radiotherapy called ‘proton beam therapy’ in America.

But he became so ill with pneumonia and septicaemia just two days after arriving in Jacksonville that his parents were told he might not survive.

The septicaemia caused Lucas to lose half of his right foot and the tips of his toes, as well as the tips of his fingers.

He still has regular check-ups but he has started attending pre-school at St George’s Central Primary School in Tyldesley.

Cancer Research UK Race for Life Leigh event manager, Jen Ward, said: “Thanks so much to the amazing women of Leigh for such a brilliant show of support at Race for Life.

“Please now think about returning your sponsorship money as soon as possible to help us beat cancer.”