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Kurtis takes dream flight

PUBLISHED: 12:31 06 August 2010 | UPDATED: 09:16 16 September 2010

A TEENAGER from Beccles has had his wish granted to fly in a helicopter in the skies above East Anglia.

Kurtis Hembling's dream has come true thanks to a charity that grants once-in-a-lifetime wishes for seriously and terminally ill children.

A TEENAGER from Beccles has had his wish granted to fly in a helicopter in the skies above East Anglia.

Kurtis Hembling's dream has come true thanks to a charity that grants once-in-a-lifetime wishes for seriously and terminally ill children.

Kurtis, from Beccles, was 13 when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2006.

Kurtis's father David said his son had felt tired and sluggish and that lumps had appeared on his neck before a locum at Beccles Hospital asked for urgent tests and the disease was promptly diagnosed.

The teenager was extremely brave throughout his treatment which included three years of chemotherapy and stays in Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, as well as time off school away from his friends.

Mr Hembling said that his son, who is now 17, had shown remarkable courage throughout his battle with the disease and is now in full remission.

Even when he was very ill, Kurtis would ask his parents if he could go to classes and see his friends at Sir John Leman High School. He is now recovering at home.

“We were lucky it was caught quite early, so hopefully things are looking good, said Mr Hembling. “The medical care has been marvellous.”

Kurtis was given the opportunity to fly in a helicopter thanks to the Starlight Children's Foundation which grants once-in-a-lifetime wishes for seriously and terminally ill children.

Kurtis's mother Vanessa said: “He is an extremely brave and sensitive young man who has managed to remain cheerful throughout his treatment.

“It was no surprise when he chose his Starlight wish because he nearly flew in a helicopter a few years ago at an air show but at the last minute the weather turned bad and they couldn't take off.”

Kurtis has arthritis and is unable to travel for too long so Starlight arranged for the pilot from Winged Bee to land the helicopter at Beccles airfield, close to his home.

The family lives in Banham Road and Mr Hembling, who works at Wessex Foods in Lowestoft, is at home after a fire swept through the factory last month.

Mrs Hembling works as a dinner lady at Crowfoot Primary School.

Mr Hembling joined his son for the flight.

He said: “It was wonderful to see his face as the helicopter took off - we all had the most amazing time. We flew across Great Yarmouth and it was just breathtaking to see all the surrounding countryside and to have a bird's eye view of our home town.”

Kurtis said he really enjoyed the trip and thanked Starlight and his family for their support.

To make a donation, or refer a child to Starlight, visit www.starlight.org.uk or call 020 7262 2881.

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