A COMMUNITY in Sheffield came together for a massive fundraising effort for cancer-stricken eight-year-old Ben O’Brien.
Residents of Ecclesfield and Parson Cross have been touched by the story of brave Owls fan Ben, who goes into surgery on Wednesday as doctors try to tackle an aggressive bone cancer.
The people of north Sheffield showed their love for the Ecclesfield Primary School pupil, donating thousands of pounds at a fundraising event.
Organisers think the fun day at Ben’s school raised at least £3,000, which will be matched by the HSBC bank.
The money will be split between the Clic Sargent charity and a fund to do up Ben’s bedroom ready for his return from hospital.
Ben’s mum Dawn Sowden, 32, said: “The event was brilliant. Ben absolutely loved it. He even made the effort to get out of his wheelchair and walk around, which doesn’t happen much at the moment.
“The way the community has come together has been unreal.”
Dawn’s pal Nicola Rayworth organised the event with fellow Ecclesfield Primary parents Joanne Barnes and Clare and Dean Jarvis.
Nicola, 27, from Parson Cross, said: “We’d like to say a big thank you to The Star for telling Ben’s story. The front page on Friday made a real difference. Hundreds of people came - we never imagined the event would be so big.
“It was really nice to see a smile on Ben’s face.”
Ben was joined on the day by fellow patients at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. One of the most popular events was the stocks - where pupils threw wet sponges at their teachers.
Dawn said two strangers had come forward to offer to decorate and carpet Ben’s room for free after they saw The Star’s story.
“It’s really brought people together,” she said.