The stunning social media artwork was created by 12-year-old Sam Brown, a talented artist who is currently undergoing treatment for leukaemia. It was designed in support of World Cancer Day, and CLIC Sargent – the UK’s biggest charity supporting children and young people with cancer and Morrisons’ charity partner.
Talent for drawing
Sam, who lives with his mum in York, was asked to design the new social media artwork after his CLIC Sargent social worker noticed his talent for drawing.
The youngster spent much of his time in hospital honing his talent, after he became, at times, too tired and weak from treatment to leave his hospital bed.
Rory Traynor, Account Manager at CLIC Sargent, said: “Dalvir, Sam’s social worker, showed us his drawings and we were blown away. He has such a great gift, so when Morrisons asked if any of our young people would be interested in creating a design for World Cancer Day, we instantly thought of Sam.”
Band Against Cancer
This year, CLIC Sargent is calling on people to ‘band together’ for young lives facing cancer by buying a Band Against Cancer wristband, available now in all Morrisons stores. The bands are available in teal, pink and grey for a suggested £2 donation.
Kate Lee, CEO at CLIC Sargent – the UK’s biggest charity supporting children and young people with cancer, said: “At CLIC Sargent we know hearing the word 'cancer' connected to a child or young person makes lots of people feel helpless, sad or even angry that something so horrid can be happening to someone with their whole life ahead of them.
“Donating and getting your Band Against Cancer wristband for World Cancer Day just says 'I care' and 'I'm on your side' and helps CLIC Sargent reach these families to provide practical, emotional and financial support.”
CLIC Sargent was chosen to be Morrisons’ charity partner following a colleague vote in January 2017. The partnership will last until 2020 with a target of £8m, and has already raised £3m after just 11 months.
On 4 February, Morrisons will hold its biggest fundraiser for CLIC Sargent when it marks World Cancer Day. Band Against Cancer wristbands are available in all stores now, and a nationwide fundraising day will be held across the company on the day itself.
Sam was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in January 2017 after being taken to the GP with suspected anemia. The GP sent him to York Hospital and he was diagnosed with cancer the same day.
“We just couldn’t believe it” said Emma. “Sam just burst into tears. We had been laughing and joking thinking it wasn’t anything serious.”
Sam was sent to Leeds General Infirmary where he spent five weeks having intensive treatment including steroids and chemotherapy, lumbar punctures and blood transfusions.
Emma said: “It was one thing after another. You lose all control. Sam was constantly taking different medications and you can’t leave hospital. It is very hard for a 12-year-old boy to be confined to a hospital.
"You don’t want somebody putting a needle in your spine and making you take tablets three times a day. He knew he had to do it and he felt like he should be brave – but that is asking a lot of a 12-year-old boy every day.”
Sam finished intensive chemotherapy in August 2017, and is now in the maintenance phase of treatment to keep the cancer at bay. Although he is cancer-free, his treatment still leaves him very weak and at times immobile.
“The hardest thing has been the fact that he has lost contact with his friends. When he does go out with them he can’t keep up. It has been very isolating for him. And for me. I had to take a long time off work. I am Sam’s only carer. We are in the house together 24/7.”
But CLIC Sargent has been there to help the family with the emotional, practical and financial impacts of Sam’s cancer diagnosis. They provided a £170 grant – given to all families immediately after diagnosis – to help with immediate costs like petrol and hospital parking.
Their CLIC Sargent social worker was also on hand to help them apply for benefits and other extras, like a new bike for Sam and a vacuum when theirs broke. He regularly visits Emma and Sam at home, or in hospital, to offer emotional and practical advice and answer questions.
Emma said: “I have had to take leave from my job to look after Sam, so that has meant we struggle financially. But CLIC Sargent support means we have been able to access grants that we wouldn’t have known about.
"Our social worker filled in our Disability Living Allowance form, which made a huge difference to us because it is quite distressing to fill in. That money is invaluable to us.
“The little things like that make all the difference. CLIC Sargent has been such a big part of Sam’s care that we are just so grateful. It is really, really invaluable support. It makes such a massive difference when you are on this terrible ride that you can’t get off, to have CLIC Sargent supporting you and helping.”
World Cancer Day bands are available now at any Morrisons store.