Things looked bleak when the fundraising events to generate enough funds for a four-year-old Sevenoaks boy to receive a life-saving vaccine had to be cancelled during the coronavirus lockdown.
Liam Scott suffers from neuroblastoma, a very rare form of cancer. He has already endured a year of painful treatment which has given him some respite, but there is a high chance the cancer will return. An experimental vaccine could prevent this happening but the only place it is available is in New York.
His family and supporters who were holding sponsored events to raise the £232,000 needed had a deadline of 30 August but were disheartened when the lockdown put a stop to their activities.
A chance meeting with Karen Baker, who works for Wetton, a cleaning company based in Sevenoaks, has given them renewed hope.
Wetton has been supporting the local NHS by delivering PPE to the COVID medical centres in Tonbridge and Sevenoaks. Karen received a call from a friend who is a nurse, the friend told her about the Scott family who were struggling to receive essential supplies and she was hoping Karen and Wetton could help with deliveries to them. The nurse also mentioned Liam’s plight and how distraught the family were because their planned fundraising events had been cancelled.
Karen contacted Liam’s mum Claire and said she would not only deliver the essential weekly supplies but would also do all she could to help get the fundraising back on track. She mentioned Liam’s plight to her nephew Charlie Holmes who lives in Dunton Green and is a former football player with Dagenham & Redbridge FC.
Charlie decided he would do a sponsored run of 140 miles on a treadmill and would live stream it on Instagram. He started on Sunday 26 April and has already raised more than £25,000. However, the running has taken its toll and he is suffering excrutiating pain because of swollen knees, but has vowed he will not give up and will run until he has completed the 140 miles.
Charlie said: “The pain Liam has endured during his 10 months of gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment has given me the strength to run through my own pain.”
Liam’s family, friends, and Charlie’s own family and friends, have been running live with him. Also joining the streaming has been ‘Mikey’ a DJ from Intention Sounds (DJ) who has been encouraging people to watch the live stream and to donate and share. To raise further awareness in the local community, plans were made to erect 12 ft by 6ft posters in Sevenoaks Town Centre.
Liam is currently receiving immunotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital and the fundraisers are aware they need another £102,000 to send the four-year-old to America for the cancer vaccine. They are conscious that time is not on Liam’s side as he needs to fly to New York to receive the treatment in 115 days.
Karen Baker said: “The Scott family have endured months watching their son go through so much already it would be a relief for the family to get the final £102,000 needed so they can book Liam’s treatment. We are pleading with the public to donate. This is Liam’s only hope of receiving the vaccine he so desperately needs.
“We have assured them we will continue to carry on with fundraising and will not give up until we have the funds necessary to send Liam for the treatment at the Kettering Centre in New York. We are appealing to the hearts, souls and generosity of the public for any donations.”
You can donate via www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/charlie-holmes-thisisforyouliam or at www.solvingkidscancer.org.uk/Appeal/liam.