LITTLE Zakariyya Badat was only two-year-old when he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

The brave youngster, now four, is in remission and his father, ever grateful to the medics who treated his son, has raised more than £85,000 for Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

Imran Badat, a legal counsel to the EG group, said the family were left devastated when they were given the diagnosis in September 2019.

Zakariyya spent six months as an in-patient at Manchester Children’s Hospital with his parents staying at his bedside and at the Ronald McDonald House nearby.

Zak’s ­— as he is known ­— immune system remains weak and he is only able to attend primary school just a few hours a day.

Mr Badat, based at EG Group's Haslingden Road headquarters, said: “Our son was diagnosed a month after we came back from Hajj. He had broken out in unexplained bruising, lost weight and had very little energy.

“He wasn’t himself and we could tell something was really, really wrong. But even then, never in a million years would we have thought it was leukaemia.

“They always tell you don’t search the symptoms on the internet as it will always tell you the worst-case scenario – but this time the worst thing did happen.”

Zak was admitted to A&E at the Royal Bolton Hospital and then blue lighted to Manchester.

Mr Badat, who lives in Bolton, said: “The night he was taken to hospital his lips were blue, and he just looked awful.

“I remember our consultant sitting us down and I could tell from her face it was bad news, you never forget that moment.”

An hour later, Zak started chemotherapy for his treatment.

Mr Badat said: “It was a life changing experience and one of the promises I made during Zak’s first treatment was supporting the staff at the hospital down to the cleaner after I was inspired by the work they do.

“I wanted to support them and the children in any way I could.”

Initially, Mr Badat started a Facebook fundraiser, which went viral and collected £10k.

He then approached the Issa brothers, Zuber and Mohsin, founders of the EG group.

The EG group set up a partnership with Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Trust last year.

Mr Badat said: “Zuber was one of the first people to call me when Zak was diagnosed and told me I didn’t need to worry about work as he would take care of everything and that I should focus on being with my family.

“He was extremely supportive and kind to me, so that meant a lot to at the difficult time.”

Their fundraising efforts will enable Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity to enhance 10 cubicles on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. Children who receive treatment on the unit often stay for about six to eight weeks, but some can stay up to six months. During their transplant period they are nursed in isolation, which means they cannot leave their cubicle and are limited in the number of visitors who can see them.

The unit currently has 11 cubicles and 10 of them are painted neutral colours. Children often display artwork on the wall to brighten up the room and decorate the cubicle windows. But with the help of EG Group staff, every cubicle, and two parent rooms, will have a more fun and child-friendly décor which will significantly improve the environment and inpatient experience.

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