Sheffield three-year-old’s cancer carers thanked with raffle which raises almost £3,000
The friends and family of a three-year-old Sheffield boy diagnosed with cancer have dedicated themselves to fundraising for his carers.
On the eve of Jude Mellon-Jameson’s third birthday, his parents were told he had cancer.
But friends and family have rallied to raise almost £3,000 for the Children’s Hospital Charity’s appeal to build a new Cancer and Leukaemia ward.
In July this year, Jude, from Woodhouse Mill, began suffering with pains in his hip and leg and occasionally struggled with his walking.
His mum Lucy Mellon-Jameson said: “Jude had a tick bite a few days before and I took him into the Emergency Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital because I was convinced his symptoms were something to do with that.
“He’d been a bit off his food and would get spikes in his temperature, but he would always appear well on examination. None of these things were constant and they were very rarely at the same time. They could be symptoms of so many other things.”
The day before his third birthday in July, Jude underwent an MRI scan and that evening, his family were told the scan had revealed a mass.
Lucy said: “I knew something wasn’t right when we were given the results so quickly after the scan. They said they wanted to talk away from Jude’s bed, and we were taken to a room, where they insisted we had chairs. I still had hope that it was an infection or arthritis, both of which had been suggested before his scan.
“They told us it was a mass but they needed more tests to confirm the type. We knew it was cancer and very quickly things started happening. We found it was neuroblastoma and having a proper diagnosis and treatment plan in place made things feel easier.
“One of the hardest things was telling other people, but we were absolutely bowled over with the love and positivity we were shown. We’ve had so many well-wishes and they really give a boost when times feel hard.
“Everyone has rallied around to make sure we were all okay. We’ve been overwhelmed by people’s kindness and generosity. We’ve had people doing washing, bringing us food, giving us lifts to the hospital and back and buying gifts for Jude.
“The children in the family have been amazing, they’ve not been phased or scared, brushing his hair to help it come out easier, played with him and helped him, checking his tubes aren’t in the way.”
Jude has had a line fitted, which makes it easier for medications to be given as well as nasogastric tube to give him medicines, fluids and food when he needs it. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, with daily injections to support his blood counts.
Lucy said: “The staff at Sheffield Children’s have been incredible! Everyone involved in Jude’s care, including those that often go without praise like the pharmacy team and the physios have been amazing.
“The Play Team have been our saviours; they’ve been able to explain things to Jude and discuss procedures and equipment in a way he understands but doesn’t frighten him. I’d lost sleep worrying about how to manage those conversations myself. Jude is three and he can tell you the names of his tubes and what they are for, and it’s all down to them.
“They also gave him a teddy bear, which he’s called Colin, and when he had his tubes fitted, they added one to Colin too. It’s an incredibly nurturing environment.
“The outreach nurse has been invaluable in answering questions and providing support, while we’ve found the consultants to be honest and approachable, always explaining information clearly. This situation has been made so much easier by a great support network at Sheffield Children’s.”
Jude’s family and friends held a football tournament in Jude’s honour which raised £605, while a friend raised almost £1,000 with a 30-day fitness challenge. Another pal organised a fundraiser just a week before giving birth to raise £257.
A charity raffle is now also underway, having raised an incredible almost £3,000 so far. Highlights include signed shirts from Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United, a Sheffield FC away kit, vouchers for bars and award-winning restaurants, a Made in Sheffield steel bracelet and even a virtual personal training session with a film star.
Lucy said: “So far, we’ve spent 12 nights on the ward for Jude’s routine appointments and chemotherapy. It has everything we need, but we are really looking forward to the new ward with the better facilities.
“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.
“The ward doesn’t have the sad feeling I thought it would have, these children are incredible. There are toddlers going around in toy cars and playing football in the bays. They are very sick, but in their good moments, they are just like any other children.
“Thank you doesn’t seem like enough for the people who are supporting us and the ward through fundraising. 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.”
Tickets are priced at £1 each for the raffle in honour of Jude, with the proceeds supporting the new Cancer and Leukaemia ward at Sheffield Children’s. It closes on Sunday, September 19 and you can take part by visiting: https://raffall.com/255454/enter-raffle-to-win-prize-raffle-for-jude-and-tchc-hosted-by-georgina-newton