YOUNG cancer sufferer Leighton Cook got to play real life cops and robbers during a memorable brush with the law.
From police radios and flashing lights to mugshot photos and cells, nothing was out-of-bounds for the courageous three-year-old staying strong in the face of adversity.
It gave a new take to the finger-paintings most three-year-olds produce when Leighton took home his very own inky fingerprints yesterday – fresh from the custody suite at Chester-le-Street Police Station in County Durham.
The artwork was just part of a fun-packed treat for Leighton, who five months ago was given a 30% chance of survival after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma, cancer of the specialised nerve cells often found in the adrenal glands.
His mother Lynzie first took him for tests this Easter when he started falling ill, suffering pains and limping. At first, doctors were baffled by the cause, but then a urine test at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary revealed the rare, deadly cancer. Defying the medical experts, he has responded well to aggressive courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the RVI.
He was joined yesterday at the police station by best friend Madeleine, aged three, whose mother Claire Trewick organised the visit as a treat to help lift Leighton’s spirits. Leighton, who lives in Tunstall Village with mother Lynzie, father Dave and his four older siblings, added: “The best bit was the finger-printing and getting messy.”
Claire, an acting sergeant at the Chester-le-Street station, said: “Leighton has proved himself a real battler, surpassing all medical expectations.
“I thought he deserved a special treat before he starts his next round of radiotherapy next month, and I know from talking to Leighton and his family that a visit to the police station would really fit the bill. He was running around and full of beans, you’d never know he’s been extremely ill. He is a great example of courage in the face of adversity.”
It was a case of access all areas for Leighton and Madeleine who, despite their earlier excitement, were alarmed by the blues-and-twos of the police vans.
Back inside they got a tour of the cells and a lesson in what happens to naughty boys and girls, before rolling up their sleeves and getting inky for a fingerprint session. Leighton is now facing more cancer-fighting rounds of radiotherapy in the run-up to Christmas.
His family has started their efforts to raise the extra money needed to cover any further treatment in Germany. So far fundraisers have brought in £7,000 towards the £50,000 target.
If Leighton doesn’t need any treatment abroad, all money raised will go to the oncology ward at the RVI and neuroblastoma research.