TABITHA and Liam Durkin's lives would dramatically change one day in June 2013 when their son Zac was just five.

After spotting unusual spots and bruising on their son's body after a football match dad Liam took him to Witney Community Hospital.

From there he was sent to A&E before being diagnosed with leukaemia and put on Kamran's Ward.

Mrs Durkin said: "I was at home with our twin girls Beatrice and Elsie who were just two at the time - Liam didn't tell me on the phone what it was, he didn't want me driving knowing it was cancer.

"When I got there they took me into a room with a nurse and Liam told me.

"But I just had this horrible ringing in my ear as soon as I heard it was cancer - it's a parent's worst nightmare.

"It was so loud and I couldn't hear anything else other than this ringing."

For the next two-and-half years Zac would spend a great deal of time at the children's hospital undergoing chemotherapy.

His treatment came to an end last year and his cancer is now in remission.

The 39-year-old, who has just started work again at a school in Carterton after caring for Zac full-time since his diagnosis, praised the hospital and its staff for all their help.

She said: "There were just amazing with Zac and the whole family, I can't fault them in any way.

"They were always there, explained everything really well and always so helpful - they were like a security blanket and we actually miss them all.

"He hated needles and would even run away down the corridors - but they cracked him in the end and did everything to put him at ease."

Now eight, Zac is thriving at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School in Witney and visits the hospital every six weeks for a check up.

His parents have been keen supporters of the Oxford Mail's OX5 Run for many years raising thousands of pounds for equipment for the wards, including the toys and videogames that Zac enjoyed during his stay.

The youngster would become one of the poster boys for the OX5 in 2014 - even posing for pictures with the then-prime minister David Cameron.

His partner in crime on Kamran's Ward and on the poster, Finlay White has also made a good recovery and has started at Henry Box School in Witney.

Finlay was eight when he was diagnosed with bone cancer in August 2013 and had a year of chemotherapy and multiple operations on his leg - the last of which was in October.

His mum Suzanne said: "The care was brilliant, Finlay had lots of questions and they involved him in all the discussions and talked through everything with him.

"He was so positive it helped us remain upbeat and the play specialist try so hard to make sure everyone feels at ease.

"The hospital school was so important, he missed a whole year of school but he's now at Henry Box School and is up to speed with everyone else.

She added: "There were only five places in the UK that would treat Finlay's cancer and we were so lucky to have the children's hospital so close to home."