A charity which supports families who have a child with autism or leukaemia has been launched in Chippenham by the parents of Emerton Chisholm-Joyce, who lost a three-year battle with leukaemia aged five.

When Emerton was two, he was diagnosed first with autism and then nine days later with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

For years he received daily chemotherapy, before his death in December last year.

His parents, Lisa Chisholm and Stephen Joyce, have set up Emerton’s Foundation to provide lifestyle support to other local families going through a similar battle.

Ms Chisholm, of Harden’s Mead, Chippenham, said: “His dad and I are passionate about Emerton’s Foundation. It gives us a sense of strength in this difficult time to help other families that struggle with daily life. We understand how difficult it can be. It will make us feel that Emerton’s death was not in vain.

“Emerton was constantly in and out of hospital fighting infections, lumbar punctures and the side effects of the chemotherapy. His autism and lack of communication made it even harder and, at times, very frustrating for him.

“Throughout his treatment, Emerton remained a thoroughly happy little boy. He never showed the suffering he went through at times, and fought so hard. There were times when, because of the chemotherapy and the steroids, he felt lousy and was unable to join in with the other children.

“At other times he was extremely happy at school and around the house, which made everyone else happy.”

Last September the family was delighted when Emerton’s treatment finally stopped. But two months later he was back in hospital with internal bleeding, caused by liver damage, and they discovered his leukaemia had returned.

Emerton’s parents have been overwhelmed by the support that has allowed them to set up the charity.

Donations included £1,000 from WD&P (UK) Ltd, an offshore health and safety company in Trowbridge, which will be used to buy T-shirts to promote the foundation.

WD&P director Dorothy Davidson, who is Emerton’s great aunt, said: “I believe that local businesses should support their local communities in the same way local communities support local businesses.”

To support the charity, visit www.teamemerton.co.uk