Posted on Wednesday 7 December 2022
Harriet the bear helps young people facing cancer this Christmas
Young cancer patient Toby Knight, 5 from Gloucestershire, stars in this year’s national fundraising campaign from H. Samuel to raise money for young people facing cancer this Christmas. Every year, the jewelers sell a limited-edition bear to raise money for Young Lives vs Cancer, the UK’s leading charity for children and young people with cancer. This year’s bear, Harriet, is on sale in store and online to help children and young people, like Toby, this Christmas.
Toby was diagnosed with leukaemia in February this year at just four years old after his Mum noticed he was tired all the time and lost a lot of energy. She had rung 111 a few times but then one day he didn’t want to get up and was struggling to walk, so she took him to A&E.
Toby’s mum, Nikki, said: “at half past nine on a Friday night they came in and I could tell from the look on their faces because it was the doctor and two nurses, I knew something was horribly wrong. And that’s when they told me they thought it was leukaemia. When they told me I looked at him and I said ‘but he’s only four!’ like it doesn’t happen to children.”
Toby went on to have chemotherapy treatment at Bristol Children’s Hospital for several months. He is now on maintenance treatment, which is less intense, but he will continue to be on treatment until 2024.
Toby and his family travel back and forth from their home to hospital often several times a week. As well as dealing with the unimaginable news their child had cancer, his parents also had to face the rising costs that come with a childhood cancer diagnosis like travel, parking, extra clothes and toiletries.
Their Young Lives vs Cancer social worker has been there to help face the rising costs of cancer. The family received a grant from Young Lives vs Cancer’s new Crisis Fund, to help amid the cost-of-living crisis, which was put towards their rising gas and electricity bills.
“Gas and electric have massively gone up and of course we’re using the heating more than we would because last year everybody would have been out and about and Toby didn’t feel the cold but now he feels the cold more and we’re at home a lot more.”
As well as financial support, their social worker has been there to guide Nikki and Toby’s family through their journey from the moment they received his diagnosis.
“She’s great to ask questions that aren’t to do with medical stuff – the doctors and nurses they do all the medical stuff but things like benefits and blue badges, they don’t know anything about that but she helped me with that.”
Young Lives vs Cancer helps families to find the strength to face everything that cancer throws at them. From support from specialist social workers, to helping with the costs that cancer brings and providing free Homes from Homes for patients and their families to stay whilst they access cancer treatment.
This year, on top of the devastating reality of facing cancer at Christmas, families of children and young people also have increasing fuel and transport costs to get to hospital as well as mounting energy bills, when they need to keep their child warm. That is why Young Lives vs Cancer has launched a Crisis Fund to offer families grants to help lessen the burden of bills this winter.
Get your own Harriet the Bear and give children and young people the strength to face cancer this Christmas. Harriet the Bear is available to purchase online for £9.99 at http://bit.ly/3VhjMHs or in H. Samuel stores and 100% of all of the profits from each sale will be donated to Young Lives vs Cancer.
The establishment of the Taskforce comes after almost two years of campaigning by Young Lives vs Cancer and Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG), who together have been calling on UK government to implement a dedicated Children and Young People’s Cancer Plan.
Dominique Davis will take up her new role at the end of January