KAREN Skinner felt incredible pride as she watched her young son compete in his school sports day.

For Joshua, 12, was diagnosed as suffering from cancer of the lungs and the liver in Spring 2002 and spent much of last year undergoing gruelling chemotherapy at Llandough Hospital in Penarth.

But Joshua is fighting back against the cancer - he took part in the six-mile Bettws High School Fun Run, competing against a field of 600 teachers, parents and pupils.

He was also something of a star in the school sports day, coming third in the 800 metres.

In March the Argus revealed that some tumours in Joshua's lungs and liver had shrunk since the last test, while others had stopped growing and appeared dormant, although the most recent scans show no further improvement.

Mum Karen, of Pinewood Close, Malpas, was close to tears as she watched her son take part in the 800 metres, the 1,500 metres, the long jump, and the relay.

"We never thought we would see this day. It brought tears to our eyes and to a lot of other families' too. We are very, very proud of him," she said. Joshua said of the fun run: "There were loads of people running and I came 70th. I've been ill - and nobody else has - but I beat all those people.

"I was really tired when I crossed the finishing line and I just wanted to sit down, but I did feel proud of myself."

Karen, 38, said: "I don't know where he gets the energy from. An hour after the Fun Run he was joining in with football training.

"He seems so well in himself, so we were very disappointed when the scans did not show any difference from last time."

Joshua still has regular scans and faces an endoscopy in February, but continues playing football for Malpas. He also enjoys cycling and tennis. Karen and Joshua's dad, Paul, hope that in five years their son will be given a liver transplant. But in the meantime, he's determined to live life to the full.

"He's got his hair back now and his weight is back to 44 kilos, after dropping down to 32 during chemo, and he says, 'Don't wrap me up in cotton-wool - treat me like a normal boy," she said.