Sky dive tribute for brave teenager Joe

Joe Porter

Joe Porter - Credit: Archant

NAILSEA teenager Joe Porter has died after losing his year-long battle against bowel cancer.

Joe Porter.

Joe Porter. - Credit: Archant

Thousands of people and organisations, including England footballer Wayne Rooney and Radio 1, have now joined a campaign to raise awareness of a sky dive organised by Joe’s sister Alex and family friend Laura Pearce in memory of the popular Manchester United fan.

Using social networking site Twitter, Joe’s friends made skydive4joe the third most talked about topic over the weekend with 1.5million tweets.

Joe had been hoping to take part in the dive, but it will now be held in the summer as a tribute to him to raise awareness and funds for Bowel Cancer UK and Teenager Cancer Trust.

Joe, aged 16, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in December 2011 and had many operations and underwent a course of chemotherapy.

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He and his family believed he had beaten the disease and Joe was looking forward to returning to Nailsea School and enjoying a normal life again, but in November doctors discovered the cancer had spread and was terminal.

His mum Joyce said: “It was absolutely devastating and came as a complete shock having been told all year that there was no sign of the disease reoccurring.

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“It is an extremely rare disease in someone as young as Joe, and Bristol Children’s Hospital had never treated this condition before - it was simply unheard of in a child.

“During his illness Joe never once complained about how poorly he was, or the pain and suffering he was going through.

“Once Joe knew he was terminal, he was determined to try to raise some funds for Bowel Cancer UK and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

“He was always optimistic and looking forward to the future. He spoke of returning to school, university, travelling, marrying and having his own family. Sadly this was not to be.”

Joe died at Bristol Children’s Hospital on February 6 surrounded by his family.

He leaves two sisters, Alex, aged 15, and Boo, aged 11, and a brother Charlie, aged 13.

His mum said: “Joe was a bright boy with a fantastic sense of humour. It was often said he never had a bad bone in him.

“He was a popular lad, a keen footballer and fan of Manchester United, and put his heart and soul into everything he did. He was simply amazing.

“We are absolutely devastated beyond belief at the loss of Joe, and overwhelmed at the support we are receiving from the local community in Nailsea – what lovely people we live among.”

A number of groups and businesses have offered their support for skydive4joe including SP Hair Company, Nailsea Junior Football Club, Nailsea Old Boys, Long Ashton Junior Football Club and Nailsea School.

Nailsea and Backwell Rugby Club under 15s team also wore a pink cancer charity kit during their game on Sunday and held a one minute silence in Joe’s honour.

Joe’s celebration of life will be held later this month at St Francis of Assisi and details will be announced in the North Somerset Times soon.

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