Watch: Brave Sam, 7, touches the nation’s heart

CRUK'Photograph by Richard Walker /
CRUK'Photograph by Richard Walker /

The emotional moment a tearful Halifax mum comforts her poorly little boy in a hospital bed is at the heart of a national television advert for Cancer Research UK.

They are seven-year-old Sam Priston and his mum Jo, of Holywell Green, who feature in the latest series of films for the charity’s ‘Right Now’ campaign, which have been on air throughout the month.

The ad in which Sam appears was filmed last November at Leeds General Infirmary while he was under the care of oncologists from The Leeds Cancer Centre. It depicts worried mum Jo, as Sam comes round from an anaesthetic to take a biopsy from his bone marrow.

Just a few days later, Sam’s family received the devastating news that he had stage four Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of white blood cells. He began a six-month course of intensive chemotherapy straight away, which finished only a month ago.

Sam’s diagnosis came after Jo, 36, and her husband, 46, noticed their little boy was fatigued and had developed a lump on his neck.

Jo, a cardiac nurse, said: “He didn’t want to do his usual activities and was feeling tired all the time. He then started complaining of tummy ache after going trick or treating for Halloween. We put him to bed but when we checked on him later he had a really high temperature. Ten minutes later he was drenched in sweat and was really cold. By the morning he was still looking washed out so we took him to the out of hours GP as it was a Sunday, and they told us to take him straight to hospital.

“He had a bone marrow biopsy under a general anaesthetic. The doctors had already told us it was probably a lymphoma but we hadn’t had a definite diagnosis.

“I was sat there thinking I just can’t believe this is happening and all my emotions were coming out at that time. I was terrified. No parent wants to see their child go through something like that.

“Then it was a huge shock to hear the words ‘Sam has cancer’. He was only six and we were terrified we wouldn’t be able to see him grow up.”

Today, brave Sam is getting on with being a lively little boy. He finished all his treatment last month, just after celebrating his seventh birthday and has just started back at Holywell Green Primary School. Now his family hope the advert will highlight the important work of Cancer Research and how vital research is in tackling the disease.

Dad Jason, a legal executive, said: “Our experience means we understand all too clearly why Cancer Research UK’s work is so important. That’s why we’re urging people across Yorkshire to take action right to help fund vital research.”