TWO heartbroken little boys whose mother died exactly a month before Christmas have received a special treat - as The Star today begins a £10,000 giveaway to needy children after teaming up with a city charity.
Chandon Ellis, aged nine, and his six-year-old brother Curvel, lost their mum Fiona after she suddenly collapsed at home with stomach cancer.
Single mum Fiona, 44, was rushed to hospital, but her condition was so advanced that doctors were unable to offer treatment and she died eight weeks later.
Chandon and Curvel, who lived with their mum in Woodthorpe, are now being looked after by their older sister Alisha, 23, at her home in Shiregreen.
The youngsters have been presented with tickets to see pantomime Sleeping Beauty at Sheffield’s Lyceum theatre, as well as a voucher for a meal out at Pizza Hut, thanks to Sheffield charity Help A Child Have A Chance.
The good cause has teamed up with The Star for the 12 Days of Christmas campaign, offering young people across the region the chance of receiving a share of £10,000.
Nominations flooded in following an appeal last month and, over the next two weeks, the recipients of the charity cash are being revealed.
Fiona’s sister Karen Wilson, 49, said she felt ‘shocked and devastated’ at learning her younger sibling had only weeks to live.
“She just collapsed,” she said. “There were no signs of anything apart from a bit of indigestion and heartburn every time she ate something.”
The mum-of-four was diagnosed with stomach cancer at the Northern General Hospital, where she was soon moved to the palliative care unit. She died on Friday, November 25, at 7.20am.
“It was in the advanced stages. They were hoping to give her treatment and stop her from getting any worse but it was too advanced. Eight weeks later that was it,” said Karen.
“I went to visit her a few times in hospital, after they came back with the diagnosis. I knew she hadn’t got much longer.
“I was shocked and devastated. I was especially upset that it was in the advanced stages and that nothing had been done to detect it beforehand. I do believe if it had been caught it would have been treatable.
“She’d lived a healthy lifestyle. She was dedicated to her children and was an outstanding mother.”
Fiona, who also left 26-year-old son Ainsley, spent all her time looking after her two young children.
Karen said she thought it was ‘absolutely brilliant’ that Chandon and Curvel have benefited from the 12 Days of Christmas.
“The children deserve it,” she said. “It’s really hard for them.
“The reason why I nominated them is to try to build up some happy memories of this period, rather than them just thinking it’s the Christmas when their mum died.”
Karen said her sister’s funeral, at the Church of God in Nursery Street, Sheffield, was ‘absolutely beautiful’.
Fiona’s body was carried in a pink-and-white casket on a carriage pulled by two white horses, which travelled in a procession from John Heath and Sons funeral directors in Burngreave to the church before heading to City Road Crematorium.
“A lot of people were saying it was one of the best funerals they’d ever gone to,” Karen said.
* See tomorrow’s Star for another 12 Days of Christmas winner.