Posted on Monday 18 September 2023
JD Wetherspoon reach £22million fundraising milestone for young people with cancer
JD Wetherspoon has reached the incredible milestone of raising £22 million for Young Lives vs Cancer. The national pub chain has been in partnership with the charity, who support young people with cancer (0-25) and their families, for over 20 years.
Since the partnership began in 2002, JD Wetherspoon employees and customers have organised and taken part in various fundraising events and challenges. Every year the company host a UK-wide football tournament, KICK, bringing staff from pubs across the nation together to raise money for the charity. Staff have also taken part in challenges such as the London to Paris cycle and various hikes, sky-dives and marathons across the UK.
JD Wetherspoon staff and customers alike have also fundraised through various events like bake sales, raffles, quizzes to continue adding to the ever-growing fundraising total.
Young Lives vs Cancer help young people and their families from the moment of diagnosis to face everything cancer throws at them. Their specialist social workers offer empowering support such as liaising with a child’s school, a parent’s employer or helping to navigate the costs of cancer. The charity also provide financial grants to help families with costs such as travel to hospital, food and extra clothing. Their eleven Home from Homes also offers family a free place to stay nearby to hospital.
Louis Brooks, 21 from Kent, was supported by Young Lives vs Cancer when he was diagnosed with cancer at just 17. He had been refereeing a football match when he felt a pain in his left side. Later that day his mum suggested they get it checked at the hospital where they were told he had a tumour growing on his side.
Louis went on to have treatment but sadly in 2020 at 18, his cancer returned and he had to have surgery to remove it. From the start of his diagnosis and all the way through his treatment, Louis and his family were supported by Young Lives vs Cancer.
Louis said: “When I first went to the royal Marsden, in the first week, one of the representatives came up and had a chat to me. Throughout my whole time with my cancer, they helped me out with money – I wasn’t working so didn’t have much money so they helped me out with grants and bursaries and they helped me sort out my PIP and they helped my parents out with travel costs.”
Louis had to travel to Germany for nine weeks of his treatment. While he was over there, his family were supported by Young Lives vs Cancer and Louis received money to help with costs when he was away from home. The charity also organised several trips and days out for Louis, where he got to meet other young people with cancer.
The £22 million raised by JD Wetherspoon has been integral to providing this support for young people with cancer. The money raised is enough to cover the cost of over 500 full-time Young Lives vs Cancer Social Workers or over 110,000 grants for families struggling with the costs of cancer.
Cody Balshaw, 18 from Flintshire, was also supported by Young Lives vs Cancer when she was diagnosed with sarcoma (bone cancer) at just 14 and then again when the cancer returned at 16. She was about to go into Year 10 and start her GCSEs but went on to miss a lot of time in school. Her Young Lives vs Cancer Social Worker Rachel helped to get her a laptop so she could keep up with school work. Her family were also provided with financial grants to help with costs like travel and food.
“Young Lives vs Cancer were the glue and the zip ties for the whole family the whole way through they literally kept us together – still now into remission they’re still fantastic for us.”
Cody now works at JD Wetherspoon’s The Gold Cape in Mold, where she has been part of the bar staff for a few months now.
Young Lives vs Cancer’s Associate Director of Income and Engagement, Anne-Marie Jubber said: “Thank you so much to every employee and customer at JD Wetherspoon who has helped to raise this amazing amount of money to help young people with cancer.
“Over 4,000 children and young people receive a cancer diagnosis every year. Our social workers are there to provide specialist support from the moment of diagnosis, to help with everything from speaking to a parent’s employer to taking away the stress of navigating the benefits system so they can focus on what matters, getting through treatment.
“The money JD Wetherspoon has raised will have helped hundreds of children and young people with cancer – from all of us at Young Lives vs Cancer, thank you.”
Throughout December, Mirror readers will learn of the support Young Lives vs Cancer provides to children and young people with cancer and their families and be invited to donate towards their Christmas fundraising appeal.
Young Lives vs Cancer sees Autumn Statement as a missed opportunity to provide better financial support to children and young people with cancer and their families