Leeds boy’s advert set to be a tearjerker

Toby Dickens and his family at home in Leeds. PIC: Glenn Ashley
Toby Dickens and his family at home in Leeds. PIC: Glenn Ashley
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Seeing little Toby Dickens falter as he is called for his chemotherapy will pull at everyone’s heart strings this Christmas.

Four-year-old Toby is one of the stars of a new ground-breaking Cancer Research UK television advertising campaign which launched on Christmas Eve.

Filming took place during the last year at the Leeds Cancer Centre, capturing real-time footage of doctors, nurses, cancer patients and their friends and family. Toby was diagnosed with leukaemia in August last year when he was just three.

His mum Erica had been diagnosed with breast cancer just two months earlier.

“I asked if the doctor was sure because mum and son couldn’t possibly be diagnosed with cancer in such a short time,” says Erica from Garforth who also has two-year-old son Jake.

Erica underwent chemotherapy, and had a mastectomy followed by radiotherapy. While all this was going on Erica and Ben also started to notice that Toby was very tired, was bruising very easily and had small red dots in patches around his body.

“Ben was shocked and he asked the doctor to confirm that was cancer. We just couldn’t believe he had it too.”

Toby stayed in Leeds General Infirmary for five weeks having tests, being monitored and having chemo. But in January this year Toby was able to start nursery school for half days.

“He has chemo every four weeks, lumbar punctures every 12 weeks and oral chemotherapy every evening at home,” says Erica. Toby is due to finish treatment in November 2017. It was during one of these chemo sessions that the film crews captured the emotional moment the little boy was called for treatment and how he hesitates, looks for his mum and then goes with the nurse. Erica added: “We know only too well how important Cancer Research is”.