Two weeks today as normal people get the ferry to the Isle of Wight for Bestival, we'll be dipping our toes into the Solent, wondering why we ever thought it was a good idea to swim there.
September 8 will also be an important date for Ashley Hyde’s family.
Ashley, 7, was a happy young boy whose love of Star Wars and big smile made him a smashing character to cover when as a journalist I worked on his story.
On June 9, 2008 Ashley was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. Ashley battled through endless rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, a complex operation and lots of procedures.
Throughout Ashley's gruelling battle with cancer, the Hyde family kept his spirits up, doing lots of fun things with him like training as a Jedi Knight.
‘May the Force be with you,’ Ashley’s parents would reassure their little Jedi Knight. And it seemed it was. In July 2009, Ashley was in remission.
Ashley described himself as a young Padawan Jedi in training for battle. But sadly the battle was just too big for such a little warrior.
After just six months, in December 2009, Ashley relapsed. Ashley’s family and friends constantly fundraised to send him abroad for treatments not available here. But the disease was too advanced and too aggressive, and despite all the treatments they tried, on September 8, last year, Ashley finally lost his last battle.
And one year on, on September 8, as Ashley’s family remember him, I’ll be thinking of him too as I set off on our fundraising ferry-dodging swim across the Solent.
Ashley, may the force be with you!
And if you’d like to help Families Against Neuroblastoma battle our most deadly childhood cancer, please take a minute to sponsor my swim: http://www.bmycharity.com/swim2bestival4FAN
Thanks, Ben x