PEOPLE from Blackburn and beyond are being asked to help give a special birthday surprise to a seven-year-old boy with a rare form of cancer.

Leo Turco, seven, from Blackburn, was diagnosed with primary diffuse leptomeningeal atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT) in June.

Family friend Germaine Braithwaite, 38, is organising for people to send Leo a birthday card to give him 'the best birthday ever' on December 21.

She said: “His birthday is going to be the best birthday we could possibly make it.

“It’s going to be his eighth birthday and I want to make it special. I put a status up on Facebook thinking, maybe if I could just get him some birthday cards, that would be nice.

“I have family from all over the world so I thought it would make him feel special.”

The family has been under a great deal of stress as Leo’s auntie suffered a spinal cord injury that left her paralysed earlier this year and, more recently, Leo’s mum lost her father.

Germaine wants to take some stress off Leo’s mother, who has had a very tough year, by organising Leo a birthday he will never forget.

Germaine said it's “overwhelming” how well the appeal has gone after it was shared by an influencer on Instagram, with other people contacting her who have thousands of followers wanting to help.

Because Leo loves Marvel and owns a PlayStation 4, Germaine will be organising to get Leo the new Spiderman game and will give him a VR headset she already owns.

Her partner, Daniel Chester, will be dressing up as Spiderman when they take all the cards and presents to Leo.

ATRT is described as a dusting on the brain meaning it is very difficult to remove and, due to the rarity of the cancer, the research is limited.

Germaine added: “I was just absolutely dumbfounded. She has got two other daughters as well. She is a young mum and I can’t even fathom how she is keeping it together.

“I just thought, she needs a break and she needs time to grieve.”

She has already had a brilliant response to her request with people from across the world offering to send Leo a birthday card, while one woman is going through a pile of Marvel toys to pick him out some new ones.

If you would like to send Leo a birthday card, post it to Germaine’s address — 32 Fielding Crescent, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 4TD.