A man from Wellingborough has vowed to knock cancer out for the count as he prepares to take part in the fight for his son’s life.
Floyd Gent, from Gleneagles, has signed up to take part in a charity boxing match to raise funds for Niamh’s Next Step (NNS), set up to raise awareness of a rare type of child cancer called neuroblastoma.
The 38-year-old has started training for the Fighting Fit Boxing Challenge, a 26-week intensive training programme that culminates in a fight in front of more than 500 people.
Floyd said: “I’m doing this for my little boy Gerry, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma aged just seven months, although he started showing signs of being poorly from just nine weeks.
“For most of his little life he’s been sick and it’s been devastating to watch what he’s had to contend with. He’s just a normal little boy, who loves climbing and Paw Patrol, but at his worst, we just didn’t know what the long-term outcome would be for him.”
After an operation on his stomach to remove a tumour and further treatment, Gerry seems better and regular scans show he remains cancer free.
He is now two-and-a-half and doctors say, providing his scans remain clear, he will officially be in remission once he turns five.
Floyd added: “My wife Danielle has nursed him every step of the way and looks after him every single day. I couldn’t have got through this without her and this fight is just as much for her, as it is for Gerry. I’ve already started an intense cardio and weight programme as I want to be as fit as I can when I get into that ring.”
Floyd turned to NNS shortly after Gerry’s diagnosis. NNS, based in Wellingborough, was set up in 2013 by Chris and Samantha Curry, following the death of their five-year-old daughter Niamh, who had also suffered from neuroblastoma.
Chris said: “I first met Floyd and his family shortly after Gerry’s diagnosis and we’ve supported them as much as we could through their journey. I’m over the moon that Gerry is doing so much better and that Floyd has already thrown his heart and soul into training.
“We felt a boxing match was quite apt because, although this condition is rare, there are children out there who are fighting for their lives.
“We wanted to find an activity that not only helps raise awareness, but also shows that together, we can pack a powerful punch. All money raised will go towards vital neuroblastoma projects that NNS funds.”
James Wright is a trustee of NNS and is also coaching all 24 men who have signed up to take part.
He said: “I’ve been training with the guys twice a week and giving them advice on nutrition. The commitment I’m seeing from these guys is admirable and I’m in no doubt they’ll all shine on the night.”
The Fighting Fit Boxing Challenge is taking place on Friday, May 10 at Northampton’s Deco theatre.
Around 100 children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year in the UK, of which only around 30 per cent will survive. There is currently no government or NHS funding into the research of neuroblastoma in the UK.
NNS exists to raise money and awareness of neuroblastoma while offering help, support and advice to children and families affected by the condition.
For more information about Niamh’s Next Step, visit: http://www.niamhsnextstep.com or call the charity on 01933 223907.