A celebration of life for Nailsea School student Joe Porter

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By Carol_Deacon | Friday, February 22, 2013, 17:14

A celebration of life service for 16-year-old Joe Porter is at St Francis of Assisi church, Nailsea on Saturday afternoon, February 23.

Much loved Joe was diagnosed with a rare form of bowel cancer in December 2011 and underwent numerous operations and chemotherapy during his battle against the disease.

His family and friends thought he had beaten the disease and Joe, a keen sportsman, was looking forward to returning to his studies at Nailsea School.

But following a routine operation in November, doctors at the Bristol Children's Hospital discovered the cancer had returned and was inoperable.

Manchester United fan Joe, who played for Long Ashton Junior Football Club, spent the following weeks being cared for at home and died in hospital on February 6 with his family at his side.

The form of cancer Joe suffered with is so unusual that only 21 cases were diagnosed last year in people under the age of 20.

Initially doctors thought Joe was suffering with Crohn's disease a type of inflammatory bowel disease as bowel cancer in young people is so rare.

Mum Joyce said: "Up until November we thought Joe had beaten the disease and he was looking forward to going back to school.

"He had so many operations and chemotherapy but never complained - he was so brave.

"It came as a total shock when they said the cancer hadn't been cured and was terminal and inoperable."

When Joe was first diagnosed his sister Alex, 15, and family friend Laura Pearce decided to do a fundraising skydive for the Teenage Cancer Trust and Bowel Cancer UK to raise awareness of the disease.

A charity called skydive4joe was set up to raise money for the two causes and Joe had hoped he would be well enough to take part in the aerial stunt this summer.

When news of Joe's death was announced details of the skydive went viral on Twitter attracting more than 1.5 million tweets including those from England footballer Wayne Rooney and Radio One presenters.

Family, friends and local businesses have all pledged to support the fundraising .

SP Hair kick started the appeal by raising more than £300 and Grove Sports & Social Club where Joe was a sticker-up at skittles has also raised funds.

Nailsea and Backwell Rugby Club under 15s team wore their pink charity kit on Sunday and held a one minute silence and collection while Year 11 challenged the sixth form at Nailsea School to a charity football match after school on Friday.

Hundreds of cards of sympathy have been received at the family home at St Mary's Grove and Joyce says she has been overwhelmed by the support she and the family has received.

She said: "We have been overwhelmed by the support and kindness we have received – everyone wants to help and support the appeal.

"If Joe could see what is going on he would be so touched.

"He was such a happy and optimistic boy and also very clever.

"Despite having a year off school he still managed to take his maths exam and get an A*.

"He was determined not to give up and wanted to protect his future and always used to talk about what he wanted to do when he was better.

"He felt that because of the cancer his life had been put on hold and he wanted to play catch up.

"He was so very brave and strong and he never complained and we are devastated beyond belief to lose him."

Joe leaves sisters Alex, 15 and Boo, 12 and brother Charlie, 13.

The celebration of life will be held at St Francis Assisi Church at 2pm on Saturday, February 23.

Friend Ashleigh Westgate, 15, will be singing Amazing Grace while friend Sid Harris will sing You're An Angel And I'm Going To Cry.

The burial will take place at Holy Trinity Church and there will be a reception at Grove Sports Centre.

The family is requesting that no one wears black and there are no flowers and donations can be made instead to the skydive4joe appeal.

Six of Joe's friends will be coffin bearers at the special service.

Fundraising events for skydive4joe:

  • Nailsea & Backwell Raven Ladies will hold a raffle for skydive4joe at is Ladies Shopping Evening on at 7.30pm Thursday, February 28. Spokesman Bev Ballagher said: "Most of us are from Nailsea and are mums. We are like so many others locally deeply saddened by Joe's passing and are aware of all the wonderful activities taking place to raise money for The Teenage Cancer Trust and Bowel Cancer (UK) through skydive4joe. For further details click HERE.

  • Nailsea Junior Football Club versus Long Ashton Football Club charity match at Grove Sports Centre, Nailsea, at 2pm on Sunday, May 12. An auction for Joe's signed Wayne Rooney shirt will follow the game as well as a raffle with lots of great prizes. Raffle tickets at £1 will be on sale soon. For more information or to donate any raffle or auction items contact family friend Emma Robbins by email emma.nailseajfc@hotmail.co.uk.



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