The father of a four-year-old with a “rare of rarest cancers” is to take on the Great North Run to raise vital funds for a leukaemia charity and awareness of the condition.
Arthur Salters-Hoult, from Wallsend, North Tyneside, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) on March 17, which is a type of blood cancer that affects white blood cells, after lumps began to appear on his head and throat in November 2022.
His father Ricky Hoult, 31, who has his own nationwide delivery company, told the PA news agency: “After further testing on Arthur’s bone marrow they had to do further tests on his genetics and they found a mutation of leukaemia that’s never been seen in history before and he is first of a kind and the only person in the world to have ever had it or got it!”
“Obviously as parents we were shocked and down about it all and asked about the chances of survival.
“At first they said it’s one of the best cancers to have if any.
“But after six weeks of testing and finding this rare genetic mutation in his cells, they said it’s going to be a lot harder to treat which has been the case.”
With the Great North Run taking place on Sunday, Mr Hoult thought taking it on would help to bring to light Arthur’s condition.
“I have a bad knee but if Arthur can go through this pain, then doing the Great North Run is nothing compared to his pain,” he said.
Mr Hoult said that he has not had much time to do training, due to attending treatment sessions with Arthur and working, but is adamant about completing the feat.
He said that his son had “not reacted very well” to any of his previous treatments, which involved intensive chemotherapy, due to his mutations, with one drug shutting his body down and resulting in him having to spend time in intensive care.
Arthur is currently using an antibody therapy drug, which he is reacting to “a lot better”.
“But we are not sure how effective or if this is working as of yet until further testing is done,” Mr Hoult added.
“This drug has only been used five times before at this stage in the UK, and that has all been on Down’s syndrome children.”
Money raised is to go to Leukaemia UK so it can continue its vital work in the field and because it is “close” to the family’s hearts.
Arthur’s story has compelled others, including a player from his favourite football team – Newcastle United, to get involved.
Bruno Guimaraes, who is a defensive midfielder for the team, invited Arthur and his family to his house in May and even dedicated a goal he scored against Brighton on May 18 to him.
Guimaraes and the family have stayed in touch ever since, with the whole Newcastle United team also organising a group photo with the youngster, where he was given a top with the words: “You can beat this Arthur” on it.
“We are both Newcastle fans and Arthur loves the club and singing the songs. He has been watching all the matches from his hospital bed,” Mr Hoult said.
Arthur’s fundraising page can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/gnr-2023-for-arthur-saltershoult