VIDEO: William puts foot down on Beetle drive

A brave young boy who battled leukaemia for more than three years is celebrating beating the disease by raising money for the hospital that treated him.

William Powell, who is now five, was 21-months-old when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

William Powell, five, with dad Andy Powell, and the Sign My Ride VW Beetle.

William Powell, five, with dad Andy Powell, and the Sign My Ride VW Beetle.

The Warley Town School pupil has since spent his childhood in and out of hospital - having approximately 27 operations - but last July parents Andy Powell and Michelle Emerson were told that William was in remission.

Now the family is asking people to put their signature on a vintage VW Beetle in exchange for a donation for The Children’s Hospital Charity, Sheffield, and has so far raised nearly £2,000 at festivals including Dub Odyssey and the Tramlines Festival.

Andy said: “We still have our little boy. He is a cracking little lad and we realise just how lucky we are to have him. We have known many families from our time at the Children’s Hospital who sadly lost their children to the same disease that William had, and that really brings home how lucky we are.

“We are doing this to thank the hospital for what they have done for us.”

William’s ‘Sign My Ride’ fundraiser started after several businesses donated enough money to be able to purchase the car for just £500.

“It was in pieces when we first bought it. The engine was full of water. In 12 days, I basically stripped it apart and made it usable to transport to shows across the country,” added Andy.

The family is hoping to raise another £15,000 to add to the £15,000 they have already raised from recycling Christmas trees in previous years.

So far, the money donated has bought two Cell Salvage machines - a blood recycling machine that works on removing blood and then cleaning it before putting it back into the body - for the hospital.

There was more joy for the family after they finally managed to move into their dream home, where they spent their first Christmas with William since he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

“It was the first Christmas he could play and enjoy himself without having chemotherapy on Christmas Day,” Andy said. “It was really great. We had a nine foot tree and we went all out.”

For more information on how to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/Michelle-Emerson or have a look at the Facebook page made for the appeal - www.facebook.com/signmyride.