A WORTHING teenager who survived cancer will be appearing on our TV screens in an emotional new commercial.
Alex Warne, 14, and his mum Julie, of Madeira Avenue, feature in the Cancer Research UK advert called Couples.
The ad features cancer survivors of all ages sitting side-by-side with a loved one, recalling the cancer diagnosis, the fear of what might happen and then the joy of getting the all-clear.
The campaign aims to highlight the fact more people are beating cancer, thanks to treatments Cancer Research UK has helped to develop. However, the final frame shows a relative sitting alone who has lost the person dearest to them.
The message is that more money is urgently needed for research to help save more lives.
Julie, 45, said: “Our clip is very short but to get to that it took hours and it was difficult talking about it all over again. One of the lines I had to say was almost impossible because it started ‘If I were to lose you’ and I couldn’t stop crying.
“Watching it back was weird and upsetting, especially as I met the gentleman who lost his daughter – it was harrowing to hear his story. Before being filmed, I assumed it was only actors being used for adverts – I now know differently.”
Alex was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in December, 2003, when he was six.
His parents took him to hospital after he lost energy and had aches in his legs. He quickly started a year of intensive chemotherapy treatment, followed by two and a quarter years of maintenance chemotherapy during which he had to be in a wheelchair at times. After treatment, he had to have his feet straightened as the chemotherapy had overstretched his achilles.
But Alex was treated successfully and is now back at school. He has even had a book about his grandfather, The Heaven Flower, published.
Julie added: “Success stories like Alex’s would not be possible without the work of Cancer Research UK. I want other kids who are going through cancer to be inspired by Alex.”
Speaking about the commercial, Alex said: “It was fun and I met a lot of interesting people. It was a long day for such a short slot on TV. I was shocked when I saw myself on TV.
“I think people will find it very emotional and it will help them understand what cancer research is about a bit more.”
Cancer Research UK’s pioneering research into childhood leukaemia has benefited thousands of children.In the 1970s and 1980s the charity was involved in a number of trials, since then survival rates have doubled.
Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK spokesman, said: “We’re very grateful to Alex and Julie for taking part in our campaign. We hope it will raise awareness of Cancer Research UK’s life-saving research and encourage more people to support the charity.”
To support Cancer Research UK, visit www.cancerresearchuk.org. You can see the advert on our website, www.worthingherald.co.uk