A LITTLE boy whose life was saved by the wrong football boots has seen his greatest wish come true when he played a starring role at his mum and dad’s wedding.
On Saturday, seven-year-old Robert Haswell, from Chester-le-Street, was ring-bearer at his parents’ wedding after a children’s charity made his dream came true.
Last May, Robert was diagnosed with a form of kidney cancer when he slipped playing football and was taken to hospital suffering from a pain in his side.
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His parents feared he had cracked a rib, but instead doctors found a lump which turned out to be an early stage Wilms’ tumour.
Because it was caught in time, Robert was able to have successful treatment for the cancer, undergoing chemotherapy and having his right kidney removed.
Ring-bearer Robert Haswell
Mum Hayley Haswell said: “I feel so lucky that Robert fell over that night, if he hadn’t we may not have caught the tumour in time.
“The silly thing is, I gave Robert the wrong boots to wear that evening.
“He was playing on grass and I accidentally packed his Astroturf boots which caused him to slip. Robert tells me that I saved his life that day by giving him the wrong boots.”
Over the last 12 months, Robert spent a lot of time in hospital with his mum by his side but, while his dad Steven Haswell visited every day, he had to go home at night to look after the couple’s seven other children.
When the Starlight Children’s Foundation charity offered to grant Robert's one wish, Hayley told him to think of something he really wanted.
She said: “When I came back to see what he’d chosen, I was surprised to see that he’d drawn a picture of Steven and I holding hands and had asked for mummy and daddy to be together forever.
“I was a bit overwhelmed as I thought he’d ask to meet his favourite footballer or go on holiday. I asked him if he was sure that’s what he wanted and he was adamant that it was.
“When he told everyone what he’d wished for, everybody just started crying.”
Robert Haswell one wish was to help organise parents' big day
With the charity’s help, Robert organised the big day at St Mary and St Cuthbert Parish Church in Chester-le-Street, from choosing the hymns to picking the song for the first dance.
Hayley said: “The wedding is all Robert talked about and it was perfect in every way.”
Steven added: “It was better than imagined and even more special because Robert’s wish made it happen.
Sarah Davey, from Starlight Children’s Foundation, said: “This is the first wedding wish that Starlight has ever granted. It was so touching to see such selflessness and imagination from Robert; he could have wished for anything but he chose to use his Starlight Wish to grant his family their happily ever after.”
To refer a child for a Starlight Wish or to make a donation please visit www.starlight.org.uk.