The family of a toddler who lost his battle with cancer are holding a community event to celebrate what would have been his eighth birthday.

Every year Laura Rex and her relatives gather together to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital where her son Harrison was treated for the last three months of his life.

Miss Rex, of Crossfields in Loughton, said: “I want to raise awareness about childhood cancer and let people know that it does happen to normal people.

“Harrison literally woke up one morning without being able to use his left arm.

“Our feet did not touch the ground for the next three months.”

Harrison was diagnosed with Extracranial Rhabdoid Sarcoma at 15 months old.

“It turned out lives upside down,” The 34-year-old added.

“My daughter had to grow up so quickly, we spent every day at the hospital and I had to rely on friends and family to help care for her.”

In December 2007, despite test results looking positive, Miss Rex said the she instinctively knew there was something not right with her son.

Later on that week he suffered a cardiac arrest and underwent a six hour operation, which he would never wake up from.

Miss Rex said: “There was nothing left that they could do, they told us we should switch his life support off.

“It should have been quick but he fought for an hour and 22 minutes afterwards – he took his last breath at exactly the same time as he was born, 18 months later. Our whole family was there.”

The fundraiser will be held this Sunday at Loughton Football Academy in Langston Road from 1pm until 5pm.

On the day families can enjoy live music performances from Britain’s Got Talent contestant Micky Dumoulin and activities including rides and ‘zorbing’.

“We cannot thank GOSH enough for what they have done” Miss Rex said.

“We never felt like they didn’t do enough. His consultants were always honest with me, no matter how bleak the outlook.”

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