AFTER spending three-and-a-half years in and out of hospital for cancer treatment, Ace Manthey had grown tired of watching films and playing video games.
So instead, he picked up a guitar and learned to play it.
Now the nine-year-old from Abingdon is busking with his sister Sky, 12, and will be raising money for two charities performing in the centre of Oxford next week.
The St Nicholas Primary School pupil, whose favourite band is the Foo Fighters, said: “It felt very different from sitting in hospital beds all the time and it felt like I was free.
Support: Ace and Sky pictured during his treatment
“I didn’t have to be cramped in hospital – I could just play my guitar and do what I wanted.
“I enjoy my music and seeing people with smiles on their faces when I’m playing.
“Sky is there to support me and I feel better when I’m busking with her than when I’m on my own.”
John Mason School pupil Sky said: “I’m lucky to play alongside him and if it wasn’t for all the people who helped then he wouldn’t be stood next to me.”
Ace, of John Jones Close, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was three.
His dad Ian, 41, and mum Tomomi, 37, realised something was wrong when their son was feeling lethargic and had bruises on his chest and back.
Ace had a lumbar puncture to check for cancerous cells in his spine and to inject chemotherapy drugs at the John Radcliffe Hospital in January 2008.
Over the next three-and-a-half years he was given more than 180 doses of chemotherapy and other medication, losing his hair.
He was given the all-clear in May 2011.
Sales manager Mr Manthey said: “Your whole world just falls apart.
“You don’t expect one of the most precious little things in your life to get cancer.”
Ace, who has two other sisters Summer, seven, and Hope, four, began busking with Sky, who started taking lessons around the same time, last summer and this year the duo have performed half a dozen times in Cornmarket Street, sometimes in front of more than 100 people.
Their performances next Tuesday and Wednesday will raise money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation and the Over the Wall charity, which both offer activities and holidays for seriously ill youngsters.
Mr Manthey, who takes them busking, added: “They get a very positive reaction. It’s very unusual to see a nine and 12-year-old busking.”
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