Monday 8th January 2018
North East and Cumbria
Phoebe Hedley, from Cleadon, South Tyneside, was treated for desmoid fibromatosis, a rare cancerous tumour, on the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at the Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle. She decided to fundraise for the charity to help other young people with cancer.
Phoebe, now 18, set herself a target of raising £10,000 and undertook a series of events and challenges, from abseiling off the Great North Children’s Hospital and selling hundreds of wristbands, to theatre bucket collections, sponsored silences and bake sales. She was delighted to hit her target at the end of 2017 following an unexpected donation from her aunty and uncle.
Now Phoebe wants businesses in the North East region to help her raise her next £10,000 by pledging themselves to ‘fund a day’ and raise £2,000 each over the coming year.
Sonia Graham, Regional Fundraiser, explained:
It costs around £2,000 per day to provide all our services for our region including specialist nurses, youth support coordinators, facilities on our units (wards), social events and conferences for young people, and our Education and Awareness programme.
“The idea is that companies will be able to pick a day of the year that they would like to fund – maybe a significant milestone such as an anniversary or a new product launch day. We would then work with them to develop exciting activities and events to achieve their fundraising goal. We will promote the business and their day to the local media and on our website and feature them on the day on our social media.”
After years of feeling unwell, she was diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic condition called familial adenomatous polyposis at the age of 13, and had to have a major operation to remove and reconstruct her large intestine.
At check-up two years later Phoebe was told she had a golf ball-sized lump in the scar tissue from the operation. She was then told that lump turned out to be a tumour that was so big it was compressing her internal organs to the right hand side of her abdomen. It was a very rare kind of cancerous tumour called desmoid fibromatosis. Phoebe underwent a year of chemotherapy on the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at the Great North Children's Hospital, finishing in September 2015.
Phoebe said: "When I was first diagnosed, it was so isolating. I felt really alone and I just sat at home for a few days. But Teenage Cancer Trust showed me I was never alone and there were so many people supporting me. I met so many new people and it was a huge part of my life. Just because you have cancer, that doesn't mean you are going to stop being a young person. You aren't going to suddenly stop being you. That's why the charity is so important.
"I am over the moon that I’ve managed to raise so much money for Teenage Cancer Trust! I know first-hand how much of a difference their support makes to young people and their families going through a very difficult time so I’m pleased that the money I have raised will now help others.
"I plan to go on and continue to fundraise and I’m hoping that North East businesses will support my pledge and help me reach my next £10,000."