A LITTLE boy who received nearly 10,000 Christmas cards from kind-hearted Daily Echo readers has finished his chemotherapy treatment after more than three gruelling years.

Six-year-old William Atkinson rang the "end of treatment bell" at Southampton Hospital and his family is now overjoyed that the treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia was successful.

William, who lives in Swanage with parents Eliana and Jonathan and nine-year-old brother, Gary, is now getting used to attending Corfe Castle Primary School on a full-time basis instead of his weekly trips to hospital.

For the last two years his mum has appealed through the Daily Echo for Christmas cards for her son as he battled cancer.

She said: "I wanted to thank everybody who has sent cards for the last two years. It has been such a joy for us because William has loved receiving them.

"It is amazing to think that so many people were so kind. We received almost 10,000 cards and I'm sure the people that sent them would love to know that the treatment is over."

Christmas-mad William has spent the last four years having treatment every week and will now be monitored with monthly blood tests.

The tests will be reduced the every three months in time and if the cancer does not return within five years, William will be considered to be cured.

"We are obviously delighted that William's treatment was successful but it takes some getting used to because we're used to his blood being tested every few days. We are still afraid it could return" said Eliana.

The family’s world turned upside down when William was diagnosed in May 2014.

He has endured daily chemotherapy, weekly blood tests, steroids, antibiotics and frequent hospital stays.

Last year William had corrective surgery on both feet after one of the drugs caused damage to his tendons, meaning he had to learn to walk again.

And he spent long periods of time isolated at home because his immune system was so weak.