Battler Luke in the fight of his life

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A brave judo starlet is facing the toughest fight of his life.

Courageous Luke Watkinson, 14, of Whittle-le-Woods, needs major surgery on his liver after being diagnosed with

non-rhabdomyosarcoma.

But the battling youngster has vowed that the cancerous tumour will not defeat him.

“No matter what, I will keep fighting this illness until I beat it,” said Luke.

“All the support I have received is excellent and I can’t thank people enough

for it.”

Luke faces crucial surgery at Leeds General Hospital which will see the tumour removed, as well as half of his liver.

But distraught mother Adele had no idea what a nightmare she would be thrown into when first taking Luke to the doctor in July.

She said: “When we first took him to the doctors, they thought he had just pulled a muscle during a judo bout.

“But something wasn’t right and we took him to Royal Preston Hospital before being admitted to Manchester Children’s Hospital.”

The Lancashire judo champion underwent a biopsy at Manchester, but the results came back clear.

It was only on August 20 after a second biopsy at Leeds General that Luke was diagnosed with cancer of the liver.

Then, just days after Luke’s first chemotherapy session, it was discovered the tumour wasn’t reacting to the treatment and surgery was the only option.

Adele added: “It’s scary how fast these things develop.

“We just couldn’t believe what was happening to us.

“Just five weeks before the appointment he was winning another judo title and now he has this illness.”

The popular teenager, who attends Holy Cross Catholic High School, has been receiving plenty of support. His judo coach Bob Bigio has given him a Kindle book reader, and others have bought him an i-Pad.

Holy Cross has also teamed up with Parklands High School to help raise funds.

A raffle is being held and a charity football match is to take place, as well as T-shirts and wristbands being sold, with all money raised going to support Luke at this difficult time.

But Luke’s biggest support has been from his 10-year-old sister, Catlyn.

Adele said: “Catlyn is an absolute star. She’s only young but she is determined she won’t let it get her down.

“She helps Luke with any food that he needs or anything else – she’s brilliant.”

Adele added: “For now, we just need to take each day as it comes. If he can fight it like he competes at judo, Luke will beat this 100 per cent. I know he will.”