A brave seven-year-old boy has taken super steps for charity after walking 10 miles and raising over £1,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he received life-saving chemotherapy to treat a tumour in his bladder.

Charlie Kidson pulled on his favourite superhero cape to take on the journey from his home in Halesowen to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where he was diagnosed and treated for Rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of soft tissue cancer, in his bladder and prostate.

Charlie was just two-years-old when his mum, Sophie, and dad, Jake, noticed he was struggling to go to the toilet. Doctors at Charlie’s local hospital suggested he may be constipated or have a water infection, but when Charlie collapsed in the garden at home, his parents knew it must be something more, so rushed him to Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Department. 

Doctors drained Charlie’s bladder using a catheter, but when it filled straight back up again, they rushed him for an ultrasound scan. As more and more doctors and consultants entered the room for second, third and fourth opinions on the images of Charlie’s bladder, Sophie and Jake realised they were in for bad news. They braced themselves as they doctors confirmed every parent’s worst nightmare – their little boy had cancer.

Within two days, Charlie had been admitted to hospital, the family had met their oncologist to discuss a plan of action and Charlie began the first of thirteen rounds of chemotherapy, which lasted around a year. In that time, doctors prepared the Kidson family that Charlie would need treatment called Proton Beam Therapy, but at the time, this could only be done in America. Without a second thought the family began to organise themselves for the trip, but then a second treatment was found closer to home

Brachytherapy uses radiation to locally target tumours from the inside of the body. Thankfully Charlie met the criteria for the treatment, meaning his family could stay together in the UK while he underwent the treatment at another specialist children’s hospital in London.

All of Charlie’s treatment was a success and after more than a year of appointments, chemotherapy, radiation and an operation, he was declared cancer free. Since then, Charlie has made it his mission to raise £10,000 for the hospitals that helped him before his 18th birthday. Having already helped to host a charity night for the hospitals, this time Charlie organised his own table-top sale and superhero-themed walk to Birmingham Children’s Hospital with his mum, dad, and cousin, Bayley.

Charlie’s dad, Jake, said: “When Charlie was poorly and our family faced a temporary move to America, so many wonderful people came forward to help us in our hour of need and cheer Charlie up, and that’s really stuck with us and inspired Charlie to want to fundraise and do the same.

“Charlie loves superheroes, so of course his walk to Birmingham Children’s Hospital had to be done in a cape. Members of our family and some friends joined the route too, to cheer us on. A particular highlight was a friend of the family who dressed as spiderman to meet us and surprise Charlie halfway.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Ten miles is a long way for an adult to walk, let alone a child, but Charlie crossed the finish line at our hospital with no trouble at all – what a hero! It’s heart-warming to hear how his experience in hospital has inspired him to help many more sick kids just like him.”