Schoolboy Luca Beneduce has been given the all-clear from cancer – and is ready to resume playing for his favourite football team.
Blessed Trinity RC College student Luca (12) was diagnosed with nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma, an uncommon type of Hodgkin lymphoma.
It all started with a lump on his neck a year ago but on Thursday, July 12th he got to ring the bell three times at Manchester Children’s Hospital, the loud and clear sign that his treatment was over.
Mum Claire admitted she had no idea of the horror to come when Luca was playfighting with his gran and they noticed a lump on his neck.
She said: “We didn’t think much of it really but we noticed the lump and took him to the doctors.
“We then got the absolutely devastating news it was cancer.
"It was every parent’s worst nightmare and it was a rare form of cancer. We had no history of cancer in the family and so we didn’t really know what we were dealing with.”
Luca had an operation to remove the lump and was put on a clinical trial which included four types of CVP chemotherapy.
Claire, who is a higher level teaching assistant at Barnoldswick Primary School, added: “He was on that for three months and just as we finished around the end of January this year, we went back to the children’s hospital on the Monday morning and by the afternoon he was back in, the lump had come back.
“It had transformed into a more aggressive cancer which only happens in five per cent of cases but ours was one.
“We were devastated.”
Luca, who lives with his mum, dad Jon and big sister Mollie (14) then had to have eight cycles of chemotherapy which had side effects of sickness.
“If I could have swapped with him in a heartbeat I would,” said Claire
“It’s so hard watching your son go through that, being all hooked up, being violently sick and you just feel completely helpless.
“Youngsters are so resilient though. I remember when his cancer came back the doctor asked for any questions about his cancer and he just asked if there was a plug on the ward for his X-Box!”
Luca had a tutor at home with work sent by Blessed Trinity and teacher Laura Murray made sure he came into school for an hour here and there to see his friends and for the social side.
Then came the day the family had all dreamed of for Luca.
Claire said:“There is a bell there and, when you get the all-clear, the doctor reads a short poem and you get to ring the bell three times.
“I had watched so many parents do it and hoped one day it would be us and it was so emotional when it was.”
Luca was back at his desk before with his friends before the school broke up
Blessed Trinity is now holding a number of fundraising events in his name for MacMillan Research along with Rosegrove FC, the team Luca plays football for.
Claire said: “He can’t wait to get back playing football. It was funny as he couldn’t wait to go back to school a couple of months ago.
"Now we have to drag him out of bed again!”
Luca admitted it had been a tough year but he was so happy to get the all-clear.
He said: "I jumped up and down when I got the news.”