A MONK BRETTON boy who's fighting a battle with blood cancer is still playing the football he loves.

Alex Bird, a 10-year-old pupil at Burton Road Primary School, was diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma a year ago and is on a three-and-a-half year treatment.

Alex was a goalkeeper for Athersley Recreation FC under-11s but, in between his lengthy and gruelling treatments, he's now doing stints as a striker.

Lindsey and Paul Bird, his mum and dad, follow a rigorous treatment routine with Alex involving three different types of chemotherapy, steroids and regular visits to Sheffield Children's Hospital.

"The steroids in particular make him really tired and weak," said Paul. "But when he goes to football, it brings a smile to his face."

He added: "Alex's condition means he can be up and down like a rollercoaster. In January he ended up in hospital with pneumonia and he also had a tumour in his ear which was extremely painful."

Matthew, Alex's 14-year-old brother, plays euphonium in Barnsley Metropolitan Band, and now the band is putting on a fundraising concert for the Parents' Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia (PACT).

'A Concert for Alex' takes place on May 4 at 7pm at St Edwards Church - where Mr and Mrs Bird got married - on Racecommon Road, Kingstone.

For more information on the event, ring Barnsley Music Service on 291525, St Edwards Church on 203986, or Burton Road Primary School on 288679.