Ely Fearnley: Sheffield rugby club raise over £6K after child, 3, receives devastating cancer diagnosis
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The Sheffield rugby community has rallied together to fundraise for a family of four - known as the Fearnley 4 - to make lasting memories with.
Earlier this week, parents Vicky and Steven Fearnley, of Wisewood, received some devastating news that treatment for their ‘mischievous’ three-year-old son Ely’s brain cancer hasn’t worked.
The family, who have been a part of rugby league team Sheffield Hawks for around 20 years, have since received hundreds of pounds and words of support from the community since a JustGiving page was launched by the club.
In just three days, the fundraiser, set up by the chair of Sheffield Hawks, Lisa Riches, has reached over £6,000 of its £7,500 target, which will allow Ely, his eight-year-old brother Guy, and their parents to go on adventures.
In October of last year, young Ely began suffering from seizures. He was taken to Sheffield Children’s Hospital where they gave him an MRI to determine whether he had epilepsy, but the family received the devastating news that Ely in fact had a grade 4 brain tumour known as ETMR.
ETMR tumours are extremely rare and one of the most aggressive brain tumours seen in children.
Ely began treatment which included several months of intensive chemotherapy as well as the maximum dose of radiotherapy.
Sadly on Tuesday, September 26 the family received results of Ely’s latest MRI which showed another tumour had appeared in his brain, and there were signs of others appearing too.
"Making memories is our mission now"
In an update on the JustGiving page, mum Vicky wrote: "This update is one that we were hoping would never be written.
"Surgery could take place but they would not be able to remove it all and would lead to another extensive period of recovery time with no prospect of a benefit to Ely.
"All chemo options have been used in the treatment he’s already received and he is not able to receive any further radiation as he has had the maximum dose.
"We have some meetings this week to discuss the best plan for Ely and his care plan moving forward.
"We sat down and talked with Guy about today’s meeting and as you can imagine it was a hard talk to have, but we all agreed having lots of fun and making memories is our mission now as we do know how long we have got."
Vicky added that Ely is "completely oblivious" to this news, and is still his "happy, mischievous self", eating Happy Meals, playing, and stuffing playing cards into the DVD player.
Sheffield Hawks is stepping up its fundraising efforts with a series of events in the coming weeks, including a sold-out Halloween party, a rugby fun-day with Dodworth Miners on October 11, and a lit-up walk around Damflask Reservoir on October 24.
Tasha Burt, vice chair of Sheffield Hawks, said the amount of donations coming in is "absolutely heartwarming" to see.
She said: "We've just gone, right what can we do as a club, how can we help? Players have been putting £100 in out of their own pockets and donating things for a raffle. Everybody's just got behind it and it's absolutely amazing.
"I think everybody tries to put themselves in that position and you just can't - especially if you've got children. Everybody's willing to help in any way they can and to see just how generous people are is absolutely breathtaking.
"He’s an absolute mischievous little bundle of joy. He’s always on the go, always smiling, and he knows that he’s always up to something. He loves to run around and thinks he can play rugby by tackling anybody and everybody that’s stood still."
To donate to the fundraiser, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ElysArmy?utm_term=ekymrPK89
To find out more about the fundraising events, please visit Sheffield Hawks on Facebook.