Iandrake Bartle XX

I'd like to introduce you to Iandrake Bartle who is 3 years old and lives in Hartlepool.  Iandrake was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in May 2017 and he is currently receiving treatment at the Great North Children's Hospital, RVI, Newcastle.  Iandrake's wish was to have a tablet that he could play games on to help pass the boring hours at the hospital.  He was very happy to receive this 8" Kindle Fire.

Sending big hugs and best wishes to Iandrake for a full recovery! XX

Lucy Simpson ♥♥

This is Lucy Simpson and her friends.  Lucy is 16 years old and was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in February 2017.  Lucy's wish was to have a hot tub party with all of her friends who have been so supportive since her diagnosis!

Thank you to Ben from 'Party Time Hot tub and Spa Hire', County Durham who helped us to arrange this for Lucy!  Ben can be contacted on 07826 873895.

Good luck for your continued recovery Lucy!  XX

Sienna Urwin XX

This is Senna Urwin who is 2 years old and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia shortly before her 2nd birthday.  Sienna loves to read books with her parents and grandparents so we were very pleased to award her an annual family pass for Seven Stories in Newcastle.  Seven Stories is the National Centre for Children's Books and Sienna is pictured here on her first visit.

Sienna will endure approximately 2 - 2.5 years of chemotherapy treatment before she is better, and we wish her all the best for her journey. XX

£25,000 and counting!!!

I am thrilled to be able to tell all our lovely supporters and fund raisers that we have smashed through the £25,000 mark!!!  We have only be fund raising for 8 months, and at a time when our own Jessica has been receiving the most intense chemotherapy available for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia!  Imagine what we'll be able to do when we have more time on our hands.

We have now raised enough money to award 200 newly diagnosed children a £125 grant to spend on fun activities or items.  I can't thank you all enough.  Let's see what the next 8 months brings XXX

A sad realisation...

A couple of weeks ago I had a dilemna.  A parent had written to me some months ago to register their child's details but I hadn't heard anything from then since, so I dropped them a quick e-mail to wish them well and let them know we were still here when they were ready.  After I'd sent the mail, my stomach turned and I panicked, wondering if the child had maybe lost their battle and here I was offering them all some fun!  I felt really insensitive.  Fortunately, shortly afterwards I did hear from them and all is well, but it got me to thinking that there are some children, for whom we make awards, that wont make it.  It's a really depressing thought isn't, and I'm sorry to express it but it's the sad reality.

Yesterday I was at the RVI with Jessica whilst she had her round of chemotherapy, and I heard a nurse mention the name of a child that we have supported (their details are not on this site as not all parents want to share their stories, and that's perfectly understandable).  I went over to the child's mum and introduced myself and explained that I was the person she had chatted with at Jessica's Smile.  She was lovely and told me all about how much her child was enjoying their gift, and I felt really proud that we are making a small difference.  And then I asked her how treatment was going, and she explained that her child has now relapsed twice and she's been told that the Drs don't think that any more can be done.  I was absolutely floored and I've been thinking about them all evening.  I can't begin to imagine how she must be feeling.  She continues to take her child to the RVI and lets the Drs do their thing, in the knowledge that it probably wont make any difference in the long run.  Can you imagine that?  

What also strikes me is that some of these parents are so young themselves and they are thrust into this very adult world of hospitals, consultants and medicines you can't remember the names of.  I'm 42 and practically one of the dinosaurs as Jessica is 13, but some of these parents are in their early twenties and just really starting their adult lives, and then they are suddenly caught up in this nightmare that will affect them for the rest of their days.  It's so incredibly cruel.

I'm sorry that this is not a happy blog, but unfortunately that's the reality of childhood cancer, and that's why I feel even more determined to continue doing what we're doing.  Even in the worst case scenario, if we can bring some joy, no matter how short lived, then it is all worthwhile.

xxx

JAC SHELDON

This is Jac Sheldon from West Denton.  Jac was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) in July 2014 and has been receiving chemotherapy treatment ever since.  In April this year, Jac was just 6 months away from the end of his treatment when he relapsed.  Jac now has to have a bone marrow transplant.  His mum, Nicola, wrote to Jessica's Smile and asked for a Nintendo Switch games console, to help pass his time, as his next round of treatment will be more intense and will involve lengthy stays in hospital.  

The Jessica's Smile award is currently limited to £125 due to our funding constraints so we were unable to fund the console outright, but I am very pleased to say that we went halves with his parents and he received his console today.  This is the reason why I want future awards to be £250 but in our first year (while our own Jessica is receiving treatment for ALL herself), it's too much for us to raise.  We need as much support as possible to reach our target of £250 per child in the future.  If anybody is considering doing any sponsored events, sporting or otherwise, it would be amazing if you could support our little charity and children like Jac.

Good luck with your next round of treatment Jac!

XXX

REDCAR ROCKS FESTIVAL

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that we had been nominated as the official charity for a local festival, and I'm really pleased that I can now share more details!!

Jessica's Smile is to be the official charity for this year's REDCAR ROCKS festival at the Corus Sports and Social Club, Redcar.  The festival takes place on the evening of FRIDAY 8th SEPTEMBER, and then all afternoon/evening on SATURDAY 9th SEPTEMBER.  I have rounded up a team of ten Jessica's Smile volunteers and we will be manning the front gate, marshalling and litter-picking...what fantastic volunteers we have!!

Redcar Rocks bring together a whole host of amazing bands and comedians, including Teesside's own Patrick Monahan, and promises to be a fantastic weekend of entertainment!!  Camping is available on site.  You can get further details from their website www.redcarrocks.com

I REALLY HOPE TO SEE SOME OF YOU THERE!!!

A BUSY WEEK...

It was a busy week last week at the home of Jessica's Smile.  It was the 13th birthday of our own Jessica and she had the best birthday party ever...very well deserved!!  We had our first award 'delivered' to Daniel Lord when he visited Edinburgh Zoo, and we also had an influx of other applicants at the same time as being able to progress some applications that I have received over the last couple of weeks.

I am very pleased to advise that our second award was delivered to a young boy who has been receiving treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, but who has sadly relapsed and is now facing a bone marrow transplant - the news that us leukaemia parents dread!  His mum applied for him to receive a Ride-on Range Rover Evoque that he can play on with his sibling.  His mum confirmed that they received it on Friday 19th May and we can't wait for the photos!  Have fun little man and the best of luck with your BMT!!

Our third award was also confirmed last week when we booked tickets for the Harry Potter Studios in London, for a 13 year old girl who has been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.  We hope that she has a magical day when she visits with her family later in the year, and, again, wish her all the luck in the World with her ongoing treatment.

OUR FIRST COMPLETED AWARD!

I am super chuffed to report that our first award has now been 'delivered'.

Daniel Lord, aged 11, has recently completed an intense course of chemotherapy after suffering from an incredibly rare form of brain cancer, Non Hodgkin Lymphoma, affecting a lymph gland in his brain.  The tumour, even though it was removed during 7 hours of brain surgery, has left Daniel unable to smile and Drs are unsure whether this will improve.

Daniel's mum, Joanne, applied to Jessica's Smile after Daniel requested a trip to Edinburgh Zoo.  Daniel and his family visited the Zoo on Monday 15th May 2017, and Daniel had a Magical Encounter with some of the zoo's smaller creatures.

We were over the moon to help Daniel and his family have some fun after such an intense and difficult course of treatment, and we wish him all the best on his continued road to recovery!

Our first applicant...

I have mixed feelings about receiving our first application for a grant.  I am pleased that we can finally start putting the money that we've raised to the use that it is intended - to bring a smile and some fun to the life of a young person diagnosed with cancer or leukaemia - but I am sad that the child has been diagnosed at all.  I'm trying not to dwell on that fact too much, as the sad truth is that children are being diagnosed with these awful illnesses on a daily basis, and I'm powerless to do anything about that.  So instead, I choose to focus on the positive and that is that this child is almost finished his extremely gruelling treatment and his family are now able to think about having a little family time and some fun!!

Daniel is 11 years old and was diagnosed with Lymphoma of the brain in December 2016.  It is an incredibly rare disease and he has endured some gruelling treatment in the last 5 months.  He and his family have requested a day trip to the zoo so I am busy trying to organise him something extra special!  I'll keep you updated with progress