Adam Watson (9), who inspired B Positive charity after leukaemia diagnosis, passes away

Tributes have been paid to inspirational ‘wee warrior’ Adam Watson from Banbridge after he passed away today (August 3).

Adam Watson from Banbridge bravely fought leukaemia.
Adam Watson from Banbridge bravely fought leukaemia.

The nine-year-old touched the hearts of many following his diagnosis with acute myeloid leukaemia at the age of seven.

He was the inspiration for the charity B Positive, set up by his family to provide hope and positivity to others in similar situations.

Adam battled through four rounds of intense chemotherapy and on his eighth birthday in September 2020 rang the bell to signal the end of his treatment. However, after 10 months in remission, the family were given the devastating news that his leukaemia had returned.

Following more intense chemotherapy in Belfast in early 2021, Adam received a cord blood transplant in May 2021 in the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

At the time, his dad David said the transplant went well, but added: “To hear your child has leukaemia once, then to hear it’s come back again - I think the second time was probably harder for me to accept than the first time.”

He described his only child as “incredible” and thanked everyone who had been supporting the family.

“Adam’s blood group changed. He was 0 positive when he was born and then it changed to B positive. I got a friend to do up a logo ‘Be Positive’. We want to encourage people that whatever situation you are facing in life to be positive,” said David in May last year.

A family notice said Adam, the “loving and special son of David and Sara”, had passed away peacefully at his home in Pinley Green, Banbridge.

Among those paying tribute was Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart who said athough she had spoken to his parents last night and knew how ill Adam was, it was “a shock and devastating news” to hear that he had passed away.

“My heart this evening is aching for David and Sara and the family circle. I cannot imagine the pain they must feel at the loss of Adam. To lose a child must be the most difficult thing in the world to come to terms with and that journey for David and Sara has sadly begun.

“There are no words that can ever be spoken that will take away the hurt and pain but we just pray that they get the strength to get through the difficult times ahead.

“When I think of Adam I will always remember him as a wee warrior someone who fought his battle with great determination and inner strength. Defeating leukaemia once, he battled so hard when he was given the devestating news that it had returned. Sadly, it has just been too much to beat it again.

“I had the most humbling and memorable time with Adam recently when I introduced the Minister of State, Conor Burns to him. Conor was so taken by Adam and his quirky humour, his knowledge of local and American politics that he visited him again just yesterday.

“Adam, safe to say, has left such an impression and I know that he has and will continue to be mentioned in the corridors of power in both London and Washington as we seek to bring about real change for children and families who are fighting this dreaded disease.

“This is such a sad day. Adam’s Army and the B-Positive campaign that Adam inspired, and galvanised a whole community, has lost its little champion.”

Assembly member Jonathan Buckley said: “So sorry to learn of the passing of young Adam Watson today. Adam was a warrior and a shining example of courage and positivity as he battled leukaemia. He has inspired a town and community to do more to help others.”

Downshire Guiding Star Flute Band described Adam as “the star of the Co Down”, saying members were “devasted” at the news of the death.

In a social media post, a spokesperson for the band recalled how in September 2021 during his illness, Adam became the band’s first cymbal player.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with David and Sara and the entire wider family at this time. Adam’s story and the way the family faced the illness so bravely will be an inspiration to others who are in the same position,” the spokesperson added.

Adam’s funeral will be held on Friday (August 5) at 12.30pm in Seapatrick Parish Church followed by committal in Banbridge New Cemetery.

No flowers are requested but donations if desired for Hiking for Little Heroes with all proceeds going to Cancer Fund for Children c/o Robert J. Bready, Funeral Director, 22 Newry Road, Rathfriland, BT34 5AL. (Cheques made payable to Robert Bready).