Shropshire

Shropshire boy sets up fund to help siblings of cancer patients

Callum and Liam Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Callum's brother Liam was diagnosed with Burkitt leukaemia and, while undergoing chemotherapy treatment, contracted encephalitis

An 11-year-old, whose brother had leukaemia, is setting up a fund to help siblings of children undergoing treatment.

Callum Finazzi, from Shropshire, was eight when younger brother Liam, now in remission, was diagnosed with a rare, fast-growing form of the cancer.

He now wants to support other siblings of children on the oncology ward at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital.

Callum said he wanted "to make children happy".

Image caption Callum, and his parents Kerry and Andy, have been working on raising money for the Cal-Sibz fund

Just days after his fifth birthday in December 2016, Liam was diagnosed with Burkitt leukaemia and, while undergoing chemotherapy treatment, contracted encephalitis, which left him with brain damage.

For Callum, life was turned upside down.

He and parents Andy and Kerry stayed with Liam for much of his 11-month stay in hospitals, which meant a temporary home and school, as well as much time spent with Liam during his treatment.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Previously, Callum has dressed up to take chocolates and Easter Eggs to children on the oncology ward

"Sometimes the nurses would take me to play and sometimes I helped do Liam's observations, like taking his temperature and blood pressure," he said.

Now in remission, Liam still needs regular treatment and physiotherapy in a bid to build his movement and speech, with the family also moving to a specially adapted home in Much Wenlock.

Callum said the move was "different" but "best for Liam".

Although his parents say they try to minimise the impact on Callum, it often means plans are cancelled and sometimes he misses out on the things he likes to do.

Callum said he wanted to do something to help other children in a similar situation, and remembered how "happy" it had made him when people thought about him during Liam's treatment.

Previously he has dressed up to take Easter Eggs and Christmas chocolate selection boxes to children on the oncology ward.

Then, he came up with the idea for the Cal-Sibz fund to support the siblings of those undergoing treatment and has so far raised more than £1,000, through fundraising and a sponsored walk up the Wrekin hill.

Callum said he wanted to use the money to buy presents for children to make stays on the ward "a bit easier".

He hopes they can start giving out gifts, like toys, to siblings and the children having treatment, within the next few months.

"We're really proud of Callum, he has been a fantastic brother," father Andy said.

Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.

More on this story