The family of three-year-old Jude Mellon-Jameson have expressed their gratitude after fundraising efforts for the hospital providing his treatment topped £5,000.
On the eve of Jude’s third birthday in July, his parents Arron – former Owls goalkeeper – and Lucy were told he had cancer.
Jude underwent an MRI scan and later that evening, his family were told the scan had revealed a mass. It was later confirmed as high-risk neuroblastoma.
Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the specialised nerve cells, which are involved in the development of the nervous system and other tissues. It accounts for 6% of childhood cancer cases in the UK, with around 95 children diagnosed each year.
Jude’s diagnosis and care rallied friends and family to help in any way they could, before sparking a wider community effort to fundraise for the Cancer and Leukaemia ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital which is providing his treatment.
Among the fundraising to take place for The Children’s Hospital Charity’s appeal was an online raffle. Initially intended to be a small draw at a football tournament for a hamper, Jude’s story revealed the amazing kindness of family, friends and local businesses.
It attracted an amazing 27 prizes and raised more than £4,000, while a linked fundraising page has also raised more than £1,500 so far.
Lucy said: “I would like to thank all the businesses who have contributed especially after the year they’ve had with closures. They are almost all independent businesses so to show such generosity for someone they don’t know is amazing.
“Without the people buying the tickets and donating we wouldn’t have raised so much, so thank you to everyone who has taken part. The money will make a big difference to the experiences of families, I’m sure of that.
“The world can seem such a cruel place sometimes but this experience, despite it being the worst thing we’ve ever been through, has restored my faith in humanity.”
The fundraising total was swelled after Sheffield Wednesday FC kindly pledged their support, sharing the story across their social media channels and website, which prompted donations and raffle entries from around the world.
Arron singled out the club for special praise: “When my career started at 15, I wanted to join a club with a family feel, where I would be nurtured and looked after. I made the right choice with Sheffield Wednesday and spent ten years developing as a player and a young man.
“Fast forward seven years after leaving and the club has rallied to support my family when we need it the most. The Wednesday family has once again shown why I made that choice at 15. From myself and my wonderful family, thank you.”
The fundraising is now continuing with a family friend, Hannah Bennett, raising over £1,000 so far with a 30-day fitness challenge, while another friend has raised £257, holding an event just a week before giving birth.
The total will help transform the Cancer and Leukaemia ward into a brighter and refreshed space. There will also be a bigger and better playroom situated in the heart of the ward and the new space will maximise the view of Weston Park, making patients feel connected to the outside whilst they are getting better in isolation.
The new ward will also have significance for families far beyond Sheffield. It is the Principal Treatment Centre for children with cancer and leukaemia from babies through to 19-year-olds within South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and North Derbyshire. It also sees patients from across the UK for chemotherapy, operations, and bone marrow transplants.
Mum Lucy adds: “The diagnosis took a lot of our power away, but fundraising is a way of doing something that will not only help Jude and us, but lots of other families now and in the future. We are determined to ensure the new ward has everything it needs to make stays much more comfortable, particularly for those who spend months in treatment there.”
Lucy Cain, Regional Fundraising Officer at The Children’s Hospital Charity said: “Hearing about Jude’s story and the effort to make a difference in his honour over the last few weeks has been nothing short of inspiring.
“Both the determination of his friends and family to say thank you to Sheffield Children’s and the generosity of the local community, demonstrated so clearly in the response to the raffle and fundraising, have been incredibly moving.
“To raise so much, so soon, is an amazing achievement and we are beyond grateful to have their support. The money raised for our new Cancer and Leukaemia ward will not only benefit Jude during his ongoing care, but also generations of families in the future facing similar situations. Thank you so much.”
You can support the fundraising effort HERE