An adorable cancer tot had his dreams come true after getting to spar with his hero — boxing legend Amir Khan.
Oliver Welch is suffering from neuroblastoma – the same cancer as Bradley Lowery who captured the hearts of a nation before losing his brave fight in July last year.
He was diagnosed with the illness – which affects around 95 children in the UK every year – just 14 days after the cut-off point for a drug trial in the US.
The three-year-old’s fighting spirit is currently keeping the illness at bay but he is need of life-saving treatment not available on the NHS, which costs around £750,000.
His family reached out to the British former unified light-welterweight world champion in a bid to help them raise awareness of ‘Oliver’s Neuroblastoma Appeal’.
Oliver, from Blackburn, Lancs., was left thrilled after meeting the ex I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! star at his gym on Wednesday.
The tot was treated to a day he will never forget, posing for photos with Khan, watching him train and even going home with a signed glove.
Khan described how he enjoys “putting a smile” on the faces of children like Oliver who are battling rare illnesses.
He said: “We got a call from his family asking if we could meet him and get the word out on the illness and how we can help.
“I changed my training time to the afternoon so I could see Oliver and what a beautiful kid he is. I’ve got a three-year-old myself and it does upset me how some kids have illnesses.
“I enjoy meeting kids like that, it puts a smile on their face. They are going through pain and misery in their life and I want to be there for them.”
The youngster spent the morning at Gloves Community Centre in Bolton, Greater Mancs., with grandparents, Mandy and John Welch.
Mandy said: “We got in touch to try and get some memorabilia.
“Amir has donated some gloves and we need all the help we can get around stuff like that for fundraising.
“The treatments take it out of him but he is not doing too badly in between.
“He is coping really well, but it is hard because he can’t mix with other children in case of infection.”
Adam Welch and his partner Louise Slater said their world was ‘shattered’ when they discovered their eldest son Oliver Welch had been diagnosed with cancer of the specialised nerve cells known as neuroblastoma.
Oliver’s condition was spotted by a paediatrician who suspected his ailments were more serious than a previous diagnosis of chronic constipation.
The GP secured him an emergency appointment at Royal Blackburn Hospital the same day where the toddler underwent blood tests and scans.
The results showed he had masses in his chest and abdomen and the diagnosis was confirmed on June 7, the day of Oliver’s 3rd birthday.
The cancer diagnosis came just two weeks after the cut-off point for the US experiment.
The tot is currently undergoing chemotherapy at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital but his family say immunotherapy is crucial to treating his condition as it would boost his natural defence.
His father Adam, a sports teacher, says the only way Oliver could now have the immunotherapy treatment is to foot the bill themselves.
Family were initially told it would cost in the region of £200,000 to pay for, but that figure has since risen drastically to £750,000.
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/oliversneuroblastomaappeal.