Mum’s bid to raise thousands as a thank you to cancer charity
Devoted Sheffield mum is hoping to raise thousands of pounds for the charity that has supported her family after her son was diagnosed with cancer.
Diane Hallewell, aged 59, is hoping to raise between £6,000 and £10,000 for the charity PACT, which supported her family when her son Lee, now aged 22, was diagnosed with a mouth tumour in 2009.
Following the devastating diagnosis, Lee had to go through gruelling treatment, including chemotherapy before and after a 12-hour operation to remove his jaw bone and parts of his tibia were used to rebuild the jaw, as well as radiotherapy.
Diane said she had ‘always done a little bit’ for the charity, which is based at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, but added she was aiming to do more fundraising this year and hopefully raise even more cash.
She added the operation had not been done in Sheffield before, as titanium is normally used for jaw reconstruction.
“All that time you don't know what is going to happen,” Diane said.
“Lee made friends at the hospital, and two of the boys didn't make it and a little girl.”
Diane herself was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, and also had to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well as an operation to remove a lump.
“I know what things the kids go through because I have been through it myself,” she said.
“The radiotherapy makes you really tired – and the chemo, I don’t know how children get through it.”
PACT (the Parents Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia) is run by parents and supports families whose children have cancer.
While Lee stayed in hospital for around three weeks recovering from his operation, Diane and her husband Kevin along with their oldest son Scott, now aged 28, were given a key to PACT House, a place for families with children with cancer to stay which is only minutes from the hospital.
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Lee was given the all clear in mid-2010.
Diane said while they didn't stay at the PACT house, the normality the house provided for the family in the day was important.
She added: “Even to be able to just go there and make a meal and have a cup of tea.”
The charity also puts on Christmas parties as well as trips to places like Alton Towers.
“It’s the little things they do as well as the big things,” Diane said.
The charity also has two caravans, one in Filey, where children undergoing treatment and unable to travel far can visit with their family for a short break, and another in Berwick-upon-Tweed, which is for children not currently receiving treatment.
Diane has already raised around £1,000 since March by holding fundraising activities including Body Shop parties, garden parties and jumble sales.
She also plans to hold a race night and a fashion show, and will be skydiving in Bridlington in August.
Kevin, who is turning 65 this month, is holding a Casino fundraising night for his birthday, which will also raise money for the charity.
“If I get £6,000 I will be absolutely over the moon,” Diane said.
She said she has learned a lot while fundraising, but has recruited friends and family to help her with some aspects such as social media.