Tributes pour in for Leeds boy after he loses brave fight for life

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Touching tributes have poured in for a little boy who died after losing his battle with an aggressive form of cancer.

Joseph Mayman, seven, was diagnosed with advanced neuroblastoma in 2012 but despite a brave fight the youngster from Horsforth died on Wednesday morning.

Confirming the heartbreaking news on Twitter, his mum Sarah said: “We’re absolutely devastated that our wonderful, beautiful, brave, funny Joseph passed away early this morning.”

Along with his mum, dad Dave and younger sister Eve, Joseph helped raise awareness of the condition - as well as the vital need for blood donors - through appeals.

NHS bosses in Leeds have today said that Joseph’s story and bravery inspired many people to donate vital blood to help others fighting similar conditions.

His mum told her followers on social media that Joseph’s cancer “never defined him”, and spoke of his caring and loving nature.

“I talked so much about Joseph and cancer. But neuroblastoma never defined him,” she said.

“I don’t know if I told you enough about Joseph himself?

“He absolutely loved to make people laugh. It was his greatest pleasure, though he could never remember punchlines.

“He never ever stopped smiling. And he had gorgeous dimples. And eyelashes that were totally wasted on a boy.

“He begged me constantly to adopt a snow leopard because of the Sky adverts and also because he wanted the cuddly toy.”

Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the nervous system, which usually affects younger children.

Following treatment after his diagnosis five years ago, Joseph eventually became cancer-free.

But he relapsed in 2016 and later underwent a phase one clinical trial at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

His mum added: “He was incredibly caring and hated to see people cry.

“He’d be devastated at the volume of tears being shed today.”

Joseph was the recipient of a series of blood transfusions during his treatment and his family have helped raise the profile of the need for blood donations in Leeds.

Carol Butterfield, NHS Blood and Transplant’s Leeds Donor Centre manager, said: “The Leeds City Team are so sorry to hear that Joseph has died.

“Joseph received blood and platelets during his treatment for cancer and we are certain his story inspired many people to come forward as blood and platelet donors and will continue to do so in the future.

“We had the pleasure of meeting Joseph and his family on several occasions when they visited Leeds City Donor Centre and he was a delightful little boy.

“Our thoughts are with his family and all those who knew him at this very sad time.”

Dozens of people have taken to social media to pay tribute to the youngster.

Sarah Perry said: “Dear Sarah, I am so very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful boy he was and how loved.”