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Boy, 9, dies two days after shock cancer diagnosis



The family of Josh Harber just thought he had a cold before they received the devastating diagnosis

A football-mad nine-year-old who went to hospital with cold-like symptoms died just 48 hours later of a rare type of leukaemia.

Josh Harber was out playing for his team a week earlier and his family thought he just caught a bug off one of his brothers.

They were stunned when tests showed he had acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) – an aggressive cancer of the white blood cells.

Josh’s mum Danielle said: ’A week before he was absolutely fine.

’He was playing football in a football match and he was absolutely fine.

‘There was nothing that said he was that poorly at all.

’Then during that week he literally just had cold symptoms.

’He had a bit of a temperature, he was sick once but his brother had a sick bug the week before, so I just put it down to that.

"There was nothing that said he was that poorly."

Josh Harber was football mad and played for his local team in Dover (Picture: Harber Family / SWNS)

Josh, from Temple Ewell near Dover, Kent, came home from school with a slight pain in his ribs and he was sick once.

Danielle was on the phone to the GP when her son’s finger and toenails turned blue and she was told to dial 999.

He was taken to William Harvery Hospital where an x-ray came back clear and the family were told he probably had whiplash from a recent footballing injury.

The following day, on July 7, Josh was sick again and he was taken back to the same hospital in Ashford.

He was later transferred to St George’s Hospital in London for treatment when the results of a blood test revealed just how ill he really was.

Josh Harber (middle left) with dad Dean, brothers Jack and Lewis, and mum Danielle (Picture: Kent Live / BPM Media)

Danielle said even at the hospital Josh, who was nicknamed Smiler, was joking with the nurses and telling them about his brothers and favorite football team.

His condition rapidly deteriorating and he died on July 9, leaving behind his mum, dad Dean and two brothers Lewis, 14 and Jack, eight.

Danielle added: ’He was a very energetic, caring, loving boy, who was always concerned for how everybody else was feeling.

’He always put other people first, all the time. He was very sporty, football-mad.

’He played for Dover Rangers and he was just an absolute angel really.

’Josh was the middle one, he was like the jam in the sandwich.

'He'd spend time with his younger brother doing LEGO and Minecraft and then he'd play football for hours with the eldest one, Lewis.

’So, the home dynamics have just completely changed.

"The summer was tough because obviously we were still in shock for quite a long time."

Josh’s nickname was Smiler and now a charity fund has been set up in his name (Picture: Harber Family / SWNS)

In his memory, the family have set up a fund to raise money for childhood leukaemia research.

It is called Josh’s Gold Star Fund and money has already been raised at an event that marked what would have been his 10th birthday.

Danielle said around £ 10,000 has been raised so far and added: ’People just wanted to help to make it amazing, which it was.

’It was just absolutely perfect, it all just fell into place.

’I was absolutely blown away by the amount of money raised on the day.

"Josh will have his huge smile on his face up there."

To donate visit Josh’s Gold Star Fund here.


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