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Let's back Zac: Fundraising total tops £220,000 for Broseley youngster

By Mat Growcott | Telford | Health | Published:

More than £220,000 has been collected for brave Broseley four-year-old Zac Oliver – with nearly £100,000 of that coming over the last five days.

Zac (centre) with Cameron McCabe, Rowan Watson, Adam Robinson, Briar Rose-Price, Elsa Garbett and Ivy Attack at Little Owls Nursery, Broseley

And the donations show no signs of slowing down, with donations from 70 schools and 400 collections still waiting to come in.

Friday’s Wear Red for Zac day caught the imagination of shops, schools and businesses across the county, and Zac’s family said the response had be overwhelming.

The current total includes donations made directly to Zac, pledges and on the group’s JustGiving page.

More than 90 schools and 160 businesses, including supermarkets, restaurants and factories, turned red.

Schools in America and Vietnam got involved, and the first business to show their support on Friday was a sheet metal firm from New Zealand.

Thousands of people wore red for Zac

Zac, who has an extremely rare form of childhood leukaemia, called Near Haploid, needs to travel to Philadelphia in the US for specialist CAR-T therapy currently unavailable on the NHS.

His family are trying to raise the £500,000 needed for the treatment and, with five weeks left to go until fundraising ends, people are being urged to keep pushing.

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Mark Garbett, Zac’s father, said: “We have been working as fast as we can to account for every penny that has been handed into Zac’s account over the last few days.

“As a small team we are a little overwhelmed so please bear with us. Donations have flooded in – we have buckets and tins that take time to count and the huge majority has yet to be handed in. The bank account and the Just Giving pages together with text donations are steadily creeping up all the time, and we are accounting for this money as well, as it is received.

“With Zac going into hospital on Saturday, it brings home again the urgency of the situation and why we are doing this. We can’t thank people enough for their support and hope they will stay with us until we reach our ultimate target of £500,000.”

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Among some of the bigger donations from the day was from Tesco’s Madeley store. Through a bucket collection and through staff getting involved in the #wearredforzac, the team managed to raise more than £2,084.

The shop has also donated a number of raffle items which will go towards raising more funds.

Andrew Coxill, store manager, said: “Thank you to everyone who contributed, it’s been amazing to see our community come together to support Zac.”

McDonald’s at Telford Shopping Centre raised more than £1,003 on the day, and Asda Telford collected £503.

Another item going out to auction is a signed Lionel Messi shirt.

A couple bought the item while in London, and have donated it to be sold off for Zac. The shirt comes with a certificate of authentication. Details of the shirt will be available on the Zachariah’s fight against Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia Facebook page.

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Some schools that were unable to get involved with #wearredforzac are holding their own days this week. John Randall School in Madeley were holding their event today (TUES).

Priorslee Motor Services released a red balloon for Zac, and is asking anybody who finds it to get in touch.

“This balloon was for Zac Oliver,” they wrote on it. “If found please email us.”

Plans are moving ahead for Zac’s Red Ball, which is set to take place on November 2 at Broseley Social Club.

Tickets are currently available for the event at £25 each, which includes a complementary drink, a three course dinner and live entertainment.

There will also be a a fundraising auction and raffle as part of the evening. Everybody attending is asked to wear something red.

All proceeds from the event, which has a limited number of ticket, will go to Zac’s fund.

Zac and his mum, Hannah Oliver-Willets were joined by her husband Wayne Willets and Zac’s brother Leo, at Little Owls Nursery

And supporters of the brave four-year-old are trying to think outside the box – and considering breaking a world record in his name.

The suggestion by Fran Pearson gained a lot of support on social media. The original suggestion was to break the record for the most people dressed as Harry Potter, with the intention of smashing the current record of 997 held by West Byford Primary School in Australia.

Other suggestions included the most people wearing red and the most people dressed as dinosaurs.

The campaign so far has included support from superstar guitarist Mark Knopfler, the Wolverhampton Wanderers football team and England player Jermain Defoe. Thousands of people have offered support through Twitter and Facebook.

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Reporter - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter

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