Adam Watson leukaemia battle: ‘Today was most difficult day of our lives as we said goodbye to our precious son’

The father of a nine-year-old boy who put up a monumental fight against leukaemia has pleaded with people not to abandon a 24-hour hike in his name this weekend.

By Philip Bradfield
Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 9:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 9:52 pm

Adam Watson, son of David and Sara, passed away peacefully at their Banbridge home on Wednesday. Adam was diagnosed with leukaemia in October 2019 and after extensive treatment was in remission for ten months. However the family were later given the devastating news that it had returned.

Adam’s father David pleaded with people who were planning to take part in a 24-hour walking challenge ‘24 Hours For Little Heroes’ at Craigavon Lakes this weekend in Adam’s name to still take part.

He told the News Letter: “Today, Wednesday, has proved to be the most difficult day of our lives as we said goodbye to our precious son Adam.

Nine-year-old Adam Watson from Banbridge was ‘continously thinking of others’ while engaged in his own battle with leukaemia.

“Adam fought an aggressive leukaemia for over two and a half years, but today his fight is over.

“The 24 challenge was inspired by Adam and through Adam, he showed grit and determination to the very last second of his fight.

“As a family we ask, in fact we plead with you that if you were due to take part in the challenge this coming weekend then that’s exactly what you do. The challenge must go on, this was Adam’s challenge it was based on his story. Please let’s see how much we can raise for the Cancer fund for Children charity.”

Nigel Dowds, Banbridge District Master of the Orange Order, said his members had given great support to Adam as his father was a past district master.

“Throughout the area over the past two and a half years we have taken great inspiration and pride in the way that Adam suffered in a dignified manner and fought the battle against leukaemia,” he said.

“Not only did he fight the battle himself but he was continuously thinking of others and how he could put something back into the organisations that helped him, such as the Children’s Hospital, Angel Wishes and Daisy Lodge cancer unit outside Newcastle.

“It is just devastating for us now to have lost Adam.”

He said a number of fundraisers have been set up, with the latest being a 24 hike at the South Lake Leisure centre in Craigavon, under the Banner ‘24 Hours For Little Heroes’ with the funds going to Daisy Lodge Cancer Fund for Children.

“His family said the walk was Adam’s brainchild and they want it to go ahead even though his funeral is on Friday.” He said fundraisers led by Adam have raised £110,000 to be split between Angel Wishes and the Children’s Hospital in Belfast with a further £20,000 raised so far for Saturday’s event.

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart described Adam as “a wee warrior” who had “galvanised a whole community”.

She added: “When I think of Adam I will always remember him as a wee warrior someone who fought his battle with great determination and inner strength. Defeating leukaemia once, he battled so hard when he was given the devastating news that it had returned. Sadly, it has just been too much to beat it again.”

She spoke of having a memorable time recently when she introduced Minister of State, Conor Burns to him, whom she said was taken by his “quirky humour” and knowledge of local and American politics. Adam left such an impression, she said, that “he will continue to be mentioned” in London and Washington as efforts continue to improve services for children with the disease.

Adam’s funeral is on Friday at 12.30pm in Seapatrick Parish Church. Donations can be made to ‘Hiking for Little Heroes’ with all proceeds going to Cancer fund for children C/O Robert J. Bready, Funeral Director, 22 Newry Road, Rathfriland, BT34 5AL. (Cheques made payable to Robert Bready). Online donations can be made at https://bit.ly/3Smbjlv.