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Brave four-year-old Denver Clinton dies after months of battling cancer

PUBLISHED: 09:28 14 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:25 14 February 2019

Denver Clinton. Picture: SHELLIE WALL PHOTOGRAPHY

Denver Clinton. Picture: SHELLIE WALL PHOTOGRAPHY

Archant

A young boy who has been battling a rare form of cancer for less than a year has died aged four.

A special superhero walk for Denver Clinton took place in Dereham. Denver on the walk to Dereham town centre. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018A special superhero walk for Denver Clinton took place in Dereham. Denver on the walk to Dereham town centre. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Denver Clinton, of Mattishall near Dereham, captured the hearts of his mid-Norfolk community from the beginning - and his story went on to reach thousands of others around the globe.

He became known as a “superhero” by everyone who heard about his battle.

His mum, Wanda Le Anne Clinton, took to the Facebook group Denver’s Journey to make the heartbreaking announcement, where nearly 6,000 people have joined to support the family.

She said: “I have some very sad news.

“My little superhero has decided he can’t be strong anymore and has taken his last breath at 4am this morning (Thursday February 14).

“His name and strength will [live] on in me and my children .

“He is and will always be our superhero...

“LOVE YOU my son now and always. xxxx”

Denver’s battle first started in May 2018, after a series of visits to the doctor with stomach pain, a mass was found. The cancer had spread to his lungs and he was diagnosed with stage four, high-risk neuroblastoma.

Although 95pc of the tumour was removed in August, the family received the devastating news three months later in November that he was no longer responding to treatment, and was given just a couple of months to live.

Paul Sandford, landlord of the Railway Tavern in Dereham, kicked off fundraising for the brave boy asking for donations during last year’s World Cup showings at the pub.

Thousands was raised and at the time Mr Sandford said it was “overwhelming”.

He added: “The generosity of Dereham people never fails to amaze me.”

Some of the money raised, along with fundraising at Denver’s Summer Garden Party, went towards creating a new space for Denver to enjoy at home when he was not undergoing treatment.

In August, Dean Vann and other volunteers from the community rallied together to create the outdoor play area, dubbed Denver’s Garden , in just three days.

During the same month, Denver also received a special video message from The Voice judge, Olly Murs, after he was nicknamed ‘Little Olly’ when he wore one of the singer’s trademark hats.

As the weather changed and thoughts turned to Christmas, Denver was asked to be the guest of honour at the town’s Christmas lights switch-on.

Although the family had been faced with further heartache, receiving the news that Denver was no longer responding to treatment, they joined together at the town’s popular event where thousands witnessed Denver turn on the lights , sing his favourite song Baby Shark, and listen to his 10-year-old sister Savanah perform a song she wrote for her brother - which she has since gone on to record professionally.

As the family focused on making memories with the boy who captured the hearts of people from all over the globe, they set up the group Denver’s Last Wishes to help him fulfil some of his biggest dreams.

In December, Denver’s Party was organised for the four-year-old and his friends to celebrate together and meet father Christmas.

Denver and his family arrived in a limousine before the boy was treated to a performance of Baby Shark by his heroes the Power Rangers.

Soon after he was transported to another event organised in his honour, Denver’s Day , where he was flown in by helicopter and enjoyed watching a charity celebrity football match.

And on Boxing Day, he got to place the match ball ahead of Norwich City FC’s kick off after being carried onto the pitch by Dereham’s own Todd Cantwell.

During the festive period, a postbox was set up at the Railway Tavern for well wishes to send their messages, cards and present. Mr Sandford said at its peak the box was receiving 1,000 items of mail per day, from all corners of the world.

His story even captured the heart of former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who recorded him a special video , and the boxer, Billy Joe Saunders, who spent time with Denver at his home. The four-year-old accompanied Saunders to one of his fights, taking to the ring at both the workout and after Saunders’ victory over Charles Adamu at Manchester Arena.

The middleweight champion was also present at one of the final major events in support of Denver and his family - Denver’s Superhero Walk .

Nearly 250 youngsters donned superhero outfits and marched through Dereham town centre before singing Baby Shark in the market place.

The event was organised by Karly Gray, after she was inspired by her 10-year-old son Joshua who wanted to help the family.

Speaking on the day, Mr Saunders said Denver was “a true little champion” who had a special place in his heart.

Two weeks ago, after the family announced they no longer had much time left together, hundreds of people took to Facebook to change their profile pic to Denver’s favourite superhero, the blue Power Ranger - a symbol of his strength and the impact his journey had on the world.

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