The team were out in force today to cheer on the unstoppable Joe Smale as he carried the Olympic torch along Hook road in Chessington. Joe was nominated to carry the torch for his irrepressible spirit and determination to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
Joe was thrilled when he found out he would be carrying the torch, “He’s been playing it down because he’s a fourteen year old and he wants to be cool about it” said Joe’s beaming mum Debbie, “but he is a bit nervous!” To those of us watching the event though, Joe seemed cool as cucumber taking everything in his stride.
We met up with Joe afterwards, when he bounced out of the Olympic Coach with the other torch bearers, surrounded by photographers like a rock star. He was euphoric: “My favourite bit was the start, people were crowding around with their children and wanting to touch the torch. It was amazing, there was such a good atmosphere, it was so fun!”
Joe was handed the torch by Olympic champion James Cracknell, “He told me to make the most of it because it goes very quickly.”
Talking to this excited fourteen year old, it was easy to forget that he has battled leukaemia three times since being first diagnosed aged two. He has had extensive chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, thanks to an anonymous donor. But he just keeps on raising money because he says “I just want to make sure people don’t have to fight cancer the amount of times I did.”
Watch a video of Joe carrying the torch here.