Sunday, 21 February 2021 23:08

Cancer shock spurs friends on to help hospital treating Devizes teenager Featured

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SCHOOLFRIENDS in Devizes have raised more than £3,100 for the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where one of their mates is being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma.

They launched the fundraising appeal a week ago after Josh Blake was diagnosed with the cancer, which affects the lymphatic system.

The 17-year-old, of Longcroft Road, left Devizes School in the summer and is now studying Sport Level 3 at Lackham College, hoping to become a personal trainer or nutritionist.

He said: “I felt a lump in my neck around Christmas. There was no pain but it just got bigger.

“About three weeks after Christmas, I decided to get it checked out at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon.

“They sent me to the John Radcliffe, where they did a biopsy and removed two lymph nodes from my neck.

“Last Monday the diagnosis came through that it was Hodgkin lymphoma. I’m now going to the John Radcliffe for chemotherapy sessions.

“I think what my friends are doing is amazing. I didn’t think they would get anywhere near as much as they have.”

Pal Matt Caslin, 17, of Roundway, who is in Year 12 pupil at Devizes School, said they set a target of just £200 but have already smashed through it to raise more than 10 times that amount.

The money will help the hospital’s League of Friends to buy much-needed lifesaving equipment.

Matt added: “Myself and my friends know it’s a tough time for Josh and his family so we set up a fundraiser for the hospital where he’s being treated.

“A few of us asked for sponsorship as we are going to run a half marathon on March 7.

“We set a goal of £200 and in under 10 hours we have raised over £2,000.”

The group running the half marathon are Matt, Ashton Hibbert, 16, Alex Kimber, 17, and their old Devizes Town Football Club coach Dec McEniry.To donate, go to

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