Tommy Edwards was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in March when he was just four – and after six months of intense chemotherapy is now into the maintenance phase, with treatment continuing until 2024.
Older brothers, seven-year-old Henry and George, 14, have launched a Twitter feed to help with their fundraising – and family friend Adele Conlon is running 50 miles this month to help the fund.
Parents Chris and Jo have not only raised funds to help other children in the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford but are now creating a charity, Prevent All to aid research.
Jo, who has put her career as a wedding photographer on hold to devote her time to the family, said: “Tommy will be eight when the maintenance phase ends, it is such a huge chunk of a little person’s life to be undergoing chemotherapy. He has responded amazingly well, we are so lucky that he is strong and has handled the last few months with a smile.”
The couple spent much of last year juggling life, with only one of them at a time allowed into hospital because of Covid rules and ensuring that George and Henry could enjoy their favourite sports, cricket and football. Henry and George have both had Covid which saw them having to isolate and Chris’s job sees him having to spend time away from home.
Just before Christmas Tommy had to spend a couple of nights at the Princess Royal after his temperature spiked but recovered in time to celebrate the big day at home – and he is looking forward to returning to school at Lilleshall.
“We only moved to Lilleshall in March, just a few weeks before Tommy fell ill,” Jo said. “The school has been absolutely amazing.”
Jo has held already held some fundraising events this year including taking Santa photos for families. So far all monies raised have gone to the Telford Princess Royal Hospital Children’s Oncology Team where Tommy is receiving treatment.
“It is our way of giving back and making something positive out of the situation we find ourselves in,” she said.
“Tommy’s brothers are looking at ways they can help fundraise and George will be asking his school, Thomas Telford, if he can get pupils and staff involved there.”
“During the early days of Tommy’s diagnosis, I was googling, searching for answers on why this had happened to our little boy and I came across an article about Professor Mel Greaves who has dedicated his career to researching this very subject. He has conducted some very interesting causation research and believes that childhood Leukaemia is preventable.
“Wore trials are now required to advance his ideas in this area and so we are in the process of setting up a charitable trust called PreventALL in the hope that we can raise funds to support trials in the future. If there is anything that can be done to stop this happening to another family we would love to help and do what we can.Our plans for fundraising range from approaching corporate firms to smaller fundraising in the community, charity runs and other events.”