An Armagh road racing champion, whose little brother was was diagnosed with leukaemia last year, will be sporting a helmet dedicated to Cancer Fund for Children.
Jonathan Watt, whose little brother Theo recently celebrated remission, organised a competition for a child cancer patient to design his race helmet for the upcoming season.
The winner was 13-year-old Aiden MacDougall.
Jonathan created the competition last year to give the young people supported by Cancer Fund for Children – just like Theo – the chance to design the helmet he would wear during his 2023 racing season.
After receiving countless designs and opening the decision to a public vote, Aiden was chosen as the winning artist.
Speaking on the final helmet, Aiden said: “Wow. That’s awesome! I’m so happy. Thank you Jonathan for this great opportunity to promote awareness of children impacted by cancer.”
Read more: ‘Best present we could ask for’ as Theo’s remission news comes on mum Caroline’s birthday
Jonathan’s 12-year-old brother Theo had always been an athletic, energetic little boy. His parents first noticed a change at the end of May 2022 when Theo’s mood and behaviour changed.
However, given his age, it was put down to puberty. A sore chest following a school trip was put down to a pulled muscle and tiredness which impacted on his ability to do everyday activities was attributed to a viral infection.
Fast forward to mid-July, Theo was sleeping a lot and he was very pale, spiking temperatures on a daily basis. Following blood tests and a visit to Craigavon Area Hospital, Theo was transferred to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children where he underwent various tests and a bone marrow biopsy before being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia on July 22.
To make a difficult situation even harder, Theo’s grandmother was buried on this day, following her unexpected death on July 19.
Theo’s brother Jonathan decided to support Cancer Fund for Children after seeing first-hand the support they offered on the ward to children impacted by cancer.
Jonathan said: “After seeing the charity work in the hospital and hearing from my mother about all the things they were doing, I knew I wanted to do something to help raise awareness. Cancer Fund for Children are hands on and you can see the impact they have.
“Road racing is a huge sport in Ireland and it has a fantastic community behind it. If even just a handful of people involved see my helmet and learn more about the charity, it would be great!”
Phil Alexander, CEO of Cancer Fund for Children said: “Jonathan, Theo and his family have been through the hardest thing anyone could have to face and the fact that they are using this experience to help us reach more people and support more children is humbling. We wish Jonathan all the best in his racing season this Summer and hope the helmet gives him some extra good luck!”
Jonathan started racing motorbikes in 2017, following on from his uncle who was an avid racer until leaving the sport in 2005.
During his first full road race season last year, Jonathan placed in the top 3 in all the championships he competed in and was also awarded Duke Road Racing Rankings Newcomer of the year and Irish Road Racing Newcomer of the year.