THE parents of cancer battler Sam Shaw have marked a difficult anniversary — one year since the four-year-old was diagnosed.

Christine and Carl Shaw, of Glencoe Avenue, Hoddlesden, were told the youngster had neuro-blastoma on January 4 last year.

And an emotional Christine said they were unsure at the time whether the brave youngster would see his fourth birthday, let alone still be fighting on a year later.

She said: “It was an important milestone for us as it marked the one-year anniversary of the day we were taken into the parents’ room and told our precious little boy had a very rare and aggressive form of cancer that was consuming his little body.

“Our world was turned upside down in a matter of seconds with just a few simple words.

“Sam was so very poorly and the cancer was so far spread we just didn’t know how long we still had with him.

“We doubted he would see his fourth birthday, but our little Sam is a fighter and we feel so blessed that not only is he still here with us 12 months on, but our fun-loving, playful, cheeky, energetic little boy is returning to us.”

Sam is in Philadelphia receiving immunotherapy treatment after a fund-raising appeal saw £250,000 raised by people all over East Lancashire.

He is midway through his third of six courses of treatment.

And Christine said the results of tests next week could determine when the family finally comes home.

She said: “If all goes well with scans and tests next week, then we plan to come home mid-way through cycle five.

“That would mean we come home on March 9, just after his fifth birthday on March 5.”

Saturday was a tearful day for the youngster as dad Carl and grandmother Margaret Speakman, who had been visiting along with grandfather Philip, returned to the UK.

Philip has stayed behind at the family’s temporary Philadelphia home to help look after Sam.