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13 November 2014

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You are in: Nottingham > People > Your stories > The story of Joel Picker-Spence

Joel Picker-Spence at BBC Radio Nott'm

Joel Picker-Spence at BBC Radio Nott'm

The story of Joel Picker-Spence

Joel Picker-Spence, a six year-old boy who battled leukaemia, died in November 2008.

Joel Picker-Spence, a Nottinghamshire boy who battled leukaemia for three years, died at the age of six.

BBC Radio Nottingham first met Joel Picker-Spence from Farndon, near Newark, in July 2008.

Joel had leukaemia and had undergone so much treatment that chemotherapy was no longer working for him.

His family organised a bone marrow drive at Kelham Hall in a desperate effort to find a bone marrow match so he could have a potentially life-saving transplant.

In an effort to get people involved, BBC Radio Nottingham's Andy Whittaker joined the bone marrow register live on the radio at the beginning of August.

More than 250 people turned out on 21 August 2008 to support Joel and join the register at the drive.

Donor match

Two weeks later Joel's family got the news they were waiting for and were told a 100% donor match had been found.

Just a couple of days after being told of the match his mum Anne-Marie was dealt a hammer-blow when doctors told her Joel was too ill for the transplant.

The donor was put on standby as were staff at hospital in Sheffield where the transplant would take place 'if' Joel was well enough.

Joel was put on a week of his most intensive chemotherapy in an attempt to bring the cancer-cell count in his blood low enough to allow the operation to go ahead.

He was looking good for the week but when Joel and his mum visited the hospital for final tests, they were told that there was nothing more the doctors could do.

They couldn't get the level of blood cells in his blood low enough, so the operation simply couldn't go ahead.

Not giving up

The family refused to give up and planned a series of treats for Joel including bringing Christmas forward; a party to celebrate his seventh birthday and a limousine trip to the shops.

He also made a visit to the Radio Nottingham and East Midlands Today studios in September. Joel made friends with Des the weatherman and recorded a radio show complete with his own jingle.

However, Joel couldn't fight the cancer forever; he was taken into hospital and died on Monday 10 November 2008 at around 10.30pm.

last updated: 20/10/2009 at 14:49
created: 11/11/2008

Have Your Say

If you would like to leave a message for Joel and his family you can do so below...

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

PATRICIA CURTIS
I, too, have been following Joel's story. Joel created love and a supreme example of how one can live a liftime in a few short years. - Nottingham girl in California

ann-marie spence(proud mum of joel)
this is just a little note to say a very big thankyou to everyone . people are and have been so very kind and careing to us . joel is in peace now . but thankfully i will try and keep his name going through bown marrow drives and talks across the uk . thanks again love from joel family xxxxxxxx

Bhavi & family
It's really sad to hear about this because I was in the same hospital and the same ward I even met him. He was a really cheerful boy, if you looked at him he would make u happy. Just hope evrything is well

David
God Bless Joel

pat dean
what a brave little boy. my love and thoughts are with the family

Roz Mita & Family
We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you. God must have been missing an angel.

Steve
I've followed Joel's story over the past months and I found his incredibly postive attitude a real inspiration. Andy covered this story also with such sensitivity/warmth.

John & Ann Otter.Retford.
We only knew you thro Radio Nottingham but you touched our hearts, what a wonderful little boy.Our thoughts are with his family,

Suzanna
God only takes the best and he certainly has done with Joel. Love to his family, I hope in time you can celebrate his short life, may he rest in peace

eileen bond
I was so sad to hear of the death of Joel as I had grown to really care about him from listening to him on the radio. I hope you find peace in the thought that he touched many peoples lives in his short life and that he will never be forgotton.

Kath & Daisy
Was so terribly upset to hear that Joel had died. I listened to his story on the radio and the news that he couldn't have the op and was having Christmas early had me crying my eyes out while making breakfast for my 3 year old. I told her all about Joel and how brave and strong he and his family were and that he had an illness and wasn't going to get better, but that he was having loads of extra special fun while he could. Such a tragic and unfair thing to happen to such a wonderful young man and I genuinely believe I will never forget his story. All the best to Joel's family, I'm sure you're being strong for each other and goodbye to Joel wherever you are. x

Lyndsey
Your family and Joel are in my thoughts and prayers. Lyndsey

Ellyn
Your son is an inspiration to all of us depsite everything he battled until the end best wishes to you all. Sweet dreams Joel xxx

Adam Boyd
Born fighter, ive watched the east midlands for a number of years now since i moved to nottingham and i saw this boy i number of times celerbrating birthdays and i thought he would pull through the cancer, but to hear he has passed away is truely upsetting and i wish his family all the best.

Suzanne Spicknell
I live in Lincoln and commute to Nottingham every day listening to BBC Notts whilst commuting and then in my office. I was inspired by your son and told his story to all my friends and family, especially by best friend who is fighting breast cancer. I think Joel will give God a run for his money and I hope that this small thought will make you smile, if even only for a mili second.When ever I'm moaning or complaining I think of Joel and his amazing outlook on life and I soon shut up!He, and of course his family, will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Michelle
What a wonderful 'little man', so positive in spite of everything. He was sent here for a reason -to be an inspiration to us all. I hope the family find some peace in knowing how special he was. God bless Joel, I'm sure he'll take special care of you.

Barry
Play in Gods garden for evermore you brave little man.

Julie
I met Joel when he was on the same ward as my son in hospital. He always had a smile on his face and was such a charming young chap. Sweet dreams Joel. Best wishes to the family

Angela Lowe
It's heart breaking news..I'v been keeping up with this story, wishing and hopeing for Joel and his family... not been fing it easy to read this and as lost my mum this year and she had cancer...please send my love to his family..P.S When I see his picture..it always made me smile..knowing that someone so young..put up such a big fight..xxxxx

Jan and family
you brightened everyone`s day, Joel - sleep tight xxxx

Wayne Kirkham
Such a sad lose, such a fantastic boy, my heart goes out to you. xx

Avis
My very best wishes to Joel's family. All the best for the future.

doreen foster
I listened to a news report on Joel when it was thought he would get the bone marrow transplant.Icried when he said he was looking forward to feeling better so that he could play with his brother. How sad I feel for you all, but what a wonderful little chap. Night night Joel. God bless him and all his grieving family

Georgina
What a wonderfull little boy so cheerful with what he and his family have been going through.He is and insperation to all. Good night God Bless little one. Our thoughts are with his family at this time xxx

Caroline
A special little man, we miss him and will never forget him. Love to Ann-Marie, Dan, Shaun & Eva xxxx

Jason and jessica white
me and my dad have been listening to joels story and we would just like to say how insparational his story has been to us. joel was a vary brave child and we would just like say to joels parents that sharing his story with us has changed our lives forever. his parents should be very proud as their son achived so much and touched so many hearts in such a short period of time.you will all be in out prayers.jessica(12)

Gina Rodrigues
What a brave little boy. Such a tragic loss to his family and friends. An absolute joy to listen to when he was on the radio. To be so brave and happy when he was aware of what was going to happen to him is so humbling. My thoughts are with his family at this time. Oh how lucky they were to have had such a treasure for a son, brother and friend. God Bless you Joel.xxxx

MARK MUGASETH
R.I.P Joel

malcolm
god bless another bright shining star in the night sky

Marian
What a precious, brave and special little boy Joel was and how wonderful to be so chirpy in spite of all the difficulties he had to go through. Along with everyone else, he certainly made an impression on me, and was an inspiration to have courage in the face of life's adversities. God Bless him and all the family. My love and prayers go out to them.

pattiann
So very very sorry to hear about Joel.May God bless and help the family at this very sad time.

Carol
What an inspiration to us all this little chap was despite what he was going through. What a true star he was. My thoughts are with you at this sad time. God bless x

Chris Robinson
I would just like to say I would have liked to have met Joel. His parents and family should be so proud of this lovable and clever little boy.Please tell them I was so touched by him and my thoughts are with them at this sad time.Love to them all.

Brian Brown
I switched the radio on and heard a young boys voice, i thought ar how cute, being a father myself, then the news said a bone marrow donor had been been found but Joel was'nt strong enough to go through with the bone marrow operation, and sadly he had died well my heart dropped, i thought bless him, he sounded like a jolly happy 7 year old although he knew he was poorly, when the sound clips of Joel was played tears came to my eyss for such a brave little boy, my thoughts are with his family.Brian Browne

Chris Griffihs
It was a priveledge to listen to Joel.His bravery and cheerfulness puts many a problem in perspective.I would have been proud to have known him.

Tony
God Bless, one more little angel x

Wendy Feargrieve and Family
We first met Joel back in August at the bone marrow session at Kelham Hall, our son Adam had heard the appeal on BBC Radio Nottingham and wanted to give blood. When we arrived, we were greeted by members of Joel's family, thanking us for attending. Joel was there with his mum and the first thing I noticed about Joel was how jolly and happy he was. I met Joel and his mum again when Joel came into BBC Radio Nottingham in October as I am one of the receptionists there, Joel was so excited, carrying his little camera and just so happy. Joel signed his name in on the visitor pass and wore it with pride on his jumper. I will always remember Joel as being the most positive little lad I have ever had the pleasure to meet, so happy and with a lovely smile and twinkle in his eyes. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this sad time. R.I.P Joel, you have touched the hearts of so many people.Wendy, Mark, Craig and Adam Feargrieve.xx

chloe and jayne
there is one more angel in heaven there is one more star in the sky there is one less place ay our table there is more tear in my eye

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