A three-year-old who was once ill with cancer is now the face of a nationwide campaign to help save the lives of more children like him. 

Diyan Hirani, is starring in a poster appeal for Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People that will see his picture feature in the windows of the charity’s 600 shops.

Diyan’s family is sharing his story to help raise money for research to improve survival and reduce long-term side effects for children and young people with cancer.

There are around 240 new cases of cancer in children each year in London.

Diyan’s mum Kam said: "We’re so proud Diyan is a poster boy for this campaign. He’s coped with his treatment with so much courage and strength. 

“When he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, we were told he was critically ill and without urgent treatment, he had 48 hours to live. I thought we were going to lose him – it was terrifying.

“But now, he’s recovering extremely well and is up to his usual mischief! The fact that he’s being seen in shop windows all around the country is mind-blowing. That’s down to research and that’s why raising money for Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People is so vital. Knowing he could make a difference to others means so much to us, so I hope people will give what they can.

“Diyan hasn’t yet visited a store to see the poster but I’ve shown him the online posts and a copy of the poster and it’s priceless to see the smile on his face and his excitement,” she said.

“We’re so grateful that Diyan is still with us but the fear of the cancer coming back doesn’t leave us for a second. Every time he falls or cries we are holding our breath in fear, it’s something we continue to live with and figure a way to cope with better. 

“But that’s why we need to keep funding more research.”

Shoppers can show their support by making a donation in-store or picking up a gold ribbon pin badge – the symbol for young people’s cancers – while stocks last.

Cancer Research UK celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2022, but its history dates back to the founding of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in 1902. 

Thanks in part to the charity’s work, children's cancer survival in the UK has more than doubled since the 1970s when just over a third of children diagnosed survived beyond ten years – today, it's around 8 in 10.

Lynn Daly, spokeswoman for Cancer Research UK in London, said: “As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re reflecting on the huge progress that has been made thanks to the generosity of our supporters. But, as our new campaign highlights, cancer still claims around 500 young lives every year in the UK.

“Cancer in children and young people is different to cancer in adults – from the types of cancer to the impact of treatment and the long-term side effects survivors often experience. So, it needs different, dedicated research and we’re grateful to Londoners for helping fund that.”

Great Ormond Street Hospital in London is one of the many centres across the UK taking part in ground-breaking clinical trials coordinated by Cancer Research UK’s Children's Cancer Trials Team. These trials make innovative new treatments available to children with cancer in London/across the region. 

One of the trials is searching for the best treatment for young people and adults whose germ cell tumours have come back, or who treatment has stopped working for. In the TIGER study, the team will compare standard chemotherapy (the chemotherapy that’s usually given) with a higher dose to identify which is best for patients.