A Wimbledon boy has thanked friends and family in a heart-warming speech to mark the end of his cancer treatment.

In December 2015, nine-year-old Roberto Farina was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) – a type of cancer in which the bone marrow releases large numbers of white blood cells, before they are fully developed.

At a celebration at Roberto’s home he said: “I would like to say thank you to everyone for helping me have courage these past three years, especially my friends from school.

"I would also like to thank everyone for helping fundraise for Samuel’s Charity that help people like me.”

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Roberto celebrated with a bell shaped cake; similar to the bell he rang at St George’s Hospital to mark the end of his treatment on May 6. His parents, Clare and Matteo, discovered Roberto had ALL after noticing his glands were swollen.

Clare said: “He had funny looking swollen glands that went further down his neck than you would expect. As a parent, you have this nagging instinct that something isn’t quite right.

“We took him to our GP who ran blood tests as a precaution, but a few days later they still hadn’t gone down. They ran further tests and that’s when we knew it was quite clearly something more serious.”

Roberto was referred to St George’s for specialist treatment. ALL is an aggressive condition and develops quickly if left untreated.

Clare added: “We remember vividly the shock of those first few days in December when Roberto was diagnosed. We hadn’t even thought he was unwell.

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“We asked if we could take him home for Christmas. At that stage we didn’t understand how critical the first day was; once you start the treatment that’s it, it’s very intensive.”

Following three years of chemotherapy treatment to destroy the leukaemia cells in Roberto’s bone marrow and central nervous system, he is now in remission.

Roberto’s parents are sharing their experiences to raise awareness of childhood cancer and to help other families going through the same.

Clare said: “We don’t talk enough about the people that survive cancer. The stories you hear are always about those who’ve died and there are even fewer stories about childhood cancer.

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“It’s tough but I’d encourage parents to be gentle on themselves, trust their parental instincts and focus on thriving as a family.

Clare and Matteo say the support at St George’s has been ‘phenomenal’. In a letter to the hospital’s paedtriatic team, the couple wrote:

“You have shown you understand that childhood cancer affects the family not just the child and that surviving is not enough without thriving as an individual and a family.

“The whole process can be very lonely, as so few people have walked in your shoes and each individual child responds differently to both the physical and mental challenges the cancer poses.

“The support at St George’s has been phenomenal and it really felt like all the stops were pulled out to make the journey less damaging for Roberto.”

For the next five years, Roberto will continue to visit St George’s for regular health checks.