Tamworth based children’s charity, Simon’s Heroes, have teamed up with local tradesmen to help enhance the life of a two year old boy battling an aggressive form of cancer.
Charlie Round from Measham, was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma in June this year. Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer of nerve cells. These cells are involved in the development of the nervous system and other tissues. It can occur anywhere in the body, most commonly in the abdomen and in some children, in nerve tissue alongside the spinal cord in the neck, chest, and pelvis. It is the second most common tumour in childhood affecting around 100 children a year in the UK.
In Charlie’s case he developed a strange lump on the side of his head which affected his ability to stand and support himself. His parents Rachel and Ashley were initially told that he had a virus in his hip and the lump was probably the result of a bump to the head. The lump continued to grow as did his parents concern for his well being and they insisted that further tests were carried out. A month later they received the devastating news that Charlie had stage 4 Neuroblastoma.
Rachel said: ‘If only he had been diagnosed earlier, the treatment would have been less aggressive and dangerous for Charlie and the prognosis more favourable.’
Charlie is undergoing months of invasive treatment including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and immunotherapy.
Friends and relatives continue to rally round to help the family who are spending a lot of time in hospital with Charlie. Tom Parker, a friend of Charlie’s dad, set up a JustGiving page to help ease the family’s financial burden as Ashley, who is self-employed, and Rachel have taken time off work to be by their son’s side. Big sister Olivia (7) has also been fundraising to raise money for toys for the other children on Charlie’s ward who will all be spending Christmas in hospital.
Family friend and fellow Simon’s Heroes member Sian Ward approached Simon’s Heroes to see if the charity could help in any way.
Despite spending a lot of time in hospital, Charlie does get some respite at home when he’s well enough, where he enjoys play time with his sister Olivia. Charlie’s illness has also had an impact on his sister who misses her brother and the normality of home life before he was ill. She has spent a lot of her time outside of school in hospital visiting him with her parents.
Simon’s Heroes decided to revamp the family garden to include some play equipment that could be enjoyed by both Charlie and Olivia when he is at the family home.
Simon’s Heroes approached On The Tools, an online community for builders to connect with each other around the UK, to ask for their help to find tradesmen willing to give a few hours of their time to lay artificial turf and to set up some play equipment for Charlie and his family. They added a post on their Facebook page asking for help and had a fantastic response. DW Landscapes & Groundworks in Leicester offered to supply and fit the artificial turf. Dan Warner, Director of DW Landscapes & Groundworks paid for the materials himself and completed the job in two days with the help of one of his employees Leon Harrold. The play equipment was donated by Heath Elliot of Element Leisure in Wilnecote and assembled by members of Simon’s Heroes.
Simon’s Heroes also gifted the family tickets to Harry Potter World and arranged for Charlie’s favourite purple dinosaur Barney to visit him on his ward in hospital.
Charlie underwent surgery in November to remove the primary tumour that was left. The chemo that he has received to date has eradicated the other tumours in his body. He is now what they class as NED (no evidence of disease) however there may still be tiny traces left so he will have to endure another course of intense chemotherapy and stem cell replacement over the next 4-8 weeks and will be spending Christmas in hospital.
‘Thank you to Simon’s Heroes for your gifts and to everybody involved with the garden project. You’ve helped lift our spirits and made us all smile during a very difficult time.’
Rachel and Ashley Round.