Generous Banbury residents have helped Freddie's Future fund edge towards £10,000 - a Christmas gift for a family whose son has bone cancer
A mother whose son has spent much of this year battling aggressive bone cancer has thanked many people who have donated to Freddie's Future fund.
Nicole Croft, her husband William and children Freddie, now seven, and brothers Albert, four, and Stanley, two, are looking forward to a happy and peaceful December 25 at their Bodicote home - a far cry from last Christmas when six year-old-Freddie was in and out of hospital undergoing chemotherapy for his cancer - Ewing's Sarcoma.
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We told Freddie's story in our report last month after his teacher designed a special 'Freddie's Future' Christmas card to raise money for research into this rare cancer. The cards alone have raised £6,094 thanks to a promise of matched funds.
Mrs Croft said: "Freddie is a typical seven-year-old boy at the moment and this Christmas feels like a completely different life to last Christmas.
"The hospital managed to get him home for Christmas last year after his chemo stay on December 21, so it was quite close and he didn’t feel great.
"He was back in by Boxing Day for a blood transfusion and the following day he was back in with another high temperature until December 29 when he came home for one night. He then had to go back in on December 30 for his next chemo cycle.
"This kind of timing and life was unfortunately like this for us for months and we were just in and out of hospital. What a contrast to this year. He is lining my worktops with handmade arty crafty things, which is a true Freddie hobby.
"I really missed having my kitchen full of his creations; at times it felt like this would never happen again and that we would miss that little stage in his life. He had absolutely no desire to be creative while he was so poorly, despite receiving so many amazing gifts and kits. It was heartbreaking to see all these things being offered that he would usually love and he was just not interested.
"We are so glad to see his usual self this year. He is running, shouting, play fighting with his brothers - all the things a seven-year-old should do. He still gets tired easily and we still jump at every single ache and pain, as every three months for his scans is just a waiting game, hoping it’s still all OK. Our next scan is mid January; we are still waiting for a date.
"Covid makes everyone feel gloomy, but for us, seeing him so happy and well is the best Christmas present we could wish for and I hope it can warm some people’s hearts - health is so important."
Other fundraising for research into Ewing's Sarcoma have included a head shave by Gill Boyce at Chippers Chaps, Bloxham on Friday. Her JustGiving page is still open and stands currently at £603. See Ms Boyce's Facebook page here.
All donations through the link www.bcrt.org.uk/FreddiesFuture will be doubled until the end of December by Shine a Star appeal. This will include the Christmas cards which have raised £3,047 before selling out.
"We emptied the Croft pet foods money tins yesterday and that will benefit from the double donations. It amounts to a whopping £321 from our lovely customers.This will obviously now mean £642," said Mrs Croft.
Thirteen supporters have completed 3,000 press ups to raise £1020. A midwife worked extra hours and will hand over her overtime pay at the end of the month.
"Yesterday, I was contacted by a man who started painting during lockdown and is selling his paintings for Freddie's Future fund," said Mrs Croft whose husband's cousin who is running and rowing 100km of running and rowing in January. See the Facebook page here.
Finally Freddie's website page is here.