Since that day, in February 2021, the 18-month-old has undergone 12 rounds of chemotherapy, three surgeries, four MRI scans and two lengthy stays at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Thanks to the care Finley received, in July, his family were given the amazing news that he was all-clear and didn’t need any further treatment. He will now have ultrasounds and chest x-rays every three months for the next two years, to ensure the condition has not returned.
To express their gratitude for the care they have received, Finley’s family and friends were inspired to take on The Children’s Hospital Charity’s ‘Bearathon’ fundraising challenge.
The challenge ran alongside this summer’s Bears of Sheffield sculpture trail, and involved running, walking, cycling or swimming 2.75km a day for 30 days. The distance represented the £2.75M needed to fund the new Cancer and Leukaemia ward.
Finley’s mum Victoria Barnes said: “When we started our fundraising journey, we set our initial target at £500. Our final donation, £5,032, was over 10 times that amount.
“Our family, friends, colleagues and the wider community who heard Finn’s story all pulled together to contribute to this phenomenal total and achievement. We couldn’t be happier- knowing that this will make a significant difference to the lives of patients and families who are being supported by Sheffield Children’s.
“Thank you will never be enough. We have been completely overwhelmed by the support and generosity we have received.”
The incredible total supported the appeal transform the Cancer and Leukaemia ward at Sheffield Children’s, where Finley stayed for seven nights at the start of his treatment.
Victoria adds: “We stayed on the old ward for a week back in February and know that the changes will make the stays for future patients and their families more comfortable. To be able to contribute towards this and give something back for the care Finley received means so much to us as a family.”
The transformed ward will be complete early next year. The facility maximises the view of Weston Park, making patients feel connected to the outside whilst they are getting better. There is also a larger playroom situated in the heart of the ward and improved spaces for parents to stay with their children.
Team Finley’s fantastic fundraising has been permanently recognised with a donor recognition plaque on the new ward.
Victoria continues: “Finn’s strength is overcoming this illness is inspirational to us all. We wanted to ensure there was something to mark our donation and as such, we are so proud to be sponsoring one of the rooms on the new ward.
“You hope that you will never need the hospital, but when we did, everyone involved in Finley’s care were there for us all and to be able to give something back feels incredible.”
Freya Kingswood, senior events fundraising assistant at The Children’s Hospital Charity added: “We would like to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone in Team Finley Bear for making a lasting difference to Sheffield Children’s for generations to come.
“Three years ago, when we launched our appeal to build a new Cancer and Leukaemia ward, we could never have imagined all the different ways people found to support the improvements. To raise ten times their initial target is a phenomenal achievement and it is thanks to amazing supporters like Team Finley that the new ward will soon be open.”
The next strand of The Children’s Hospital Charity’s mission to transform Sheffield Children’s will see focus turn to the hospital’s Major Trauma Centre, with fundraising underway for a new on-site Helipad and a redeveloped Emergency Department.
Supporters are being urged to wear a festive jumper, host a Christmas quiz, get elfstraordinary in fancy dress or take a whisk with a bake-a-thon.
Visit www.tchc.org.uk/events/national-elf-service.html to register for your free fundraising pack, resources and top tips.
Alternatively, you can make a donation to the appeal by texting CRIMBO £5 to 70085, calling 0114 321 2470 or visiting www.tchc.org.uk/donate