Posted on Monday 12 November 2018

in News, Press releases

CLIC Sargent launches Barnaby the CLIC Sargent bear campaign

CLIC Sargent and charity partners H. Samuel and Ernest Jones have joined forces to launch Barnaby the CLIC Sargent bear, a plush teddy being sold to raise money for the charity’s work supporting young cancer patients.

Barnaby the CLIC Sargent bear

CLIC Sargent and charity partners H. Samuel and Ernest Jones have joined forces to launch Barnaby the CLIC Sargent bear, a plush teddy being sold to raise money for the charity’s work supporting young cancer patients.

The campaign is fronted by two young children who have received support from CLIC Sargent. Amelia Eldred, aged eight, from Tamworth is appearing on posters in H. Samuel stores, while Seb Stevens, aged four, from Burgess Hill is appearing on posters in Ernest Jones.

Both families also star in a short online film for the Barnaby campaign, talking about their experiences and the support they received from CLIC Sargent.

Watch Seb and Amelia, the stars of our new Barnaby the CLIC Sargent bear film

Amelia’s story

Amelia was diagnosed with bone cancer last year. Her leg gave way when she was at an activity club and became swollen. When it didn’t get better, Amelia was sent for an X-ray at her local hospital where doctors told her mum Michelle the devastating news that they thought it was cancer.

Michelle said: “When we got to Birmingham Children’s Hospital they got a nurse to sit with Amelia and took us into a separate room with sofas and tissues – the sort of place you know you’re going to be told something bad. At the time I remember thinking ‘If I don’t go in there they can’t tell me bad news’.

“Amelia had to have some other tests, and on her seventh birthday they confirmed that she had a high grade 10cm tumour in her leg and she would need chemotherapy, potentially surgery. Amelia was an active little girl, she loved gymnastics and ballet dancing, and riding her bike. At the time we just didn’t know what would happen with her leg and everything was up in the air.”

A couple of months later, doctors confirmed that they would have to operate on Amelia’s leg. She was offered rotationplasty; a pioneering surgery which involved amputation of Amelia’s leg high up on her thigh, with the lower leg being reattached backwards. Her heel works as a knee, with a specially made prosthesis being attached to her foot.

In CLIC Sargent’s moving film, Amelia recounts the catchphrase she coined just before she had her operation on her leg, proudly exclaiming “Bye bye tumour, see you loser”.

The family were supported by a CLIC Sargent Social Worker, who offered vital practical, financial and emotional support.

Michelle said: “Our CLIC Sargent Social Worker Kate was there for us throughout the whole experience. We met her in the first week that Amelia was on the ward and we clicked straightaway.

“When your child is diagnosed with cancer you feel a bit like you’re paddling in the dark so to have Kate to help with signposting us to the right places, and helping with grants and finances was amazing. Kate seemed to just appear out of nowhere whenever I was feeling vulnerable, like a fairy godmother! Having Kate around is a godsend.”

Seb’s story

Seb was diagnosed with cancer in October 2015, following many visits to the GP and hospital. The family was forced to cut short their summer holiday when Seb was in so much discomfort they needed to rush him to A&E. Eventually, a scan revealed that Seb had a cancerous mass on his bladder.

Mum Natasha said: “When we were told that Seb had cancer it was awful. In my head I was just thinking ‘Why can’t it happen to me and not my baby?’ Seb was so young at the time and he couldn’t really talk much so it was really difficult. Every time a doctor or nurse came near him he would scream and shout because he just didn’t understand.”

Seb had chemotherapy followed by an operation to remove the tumour. He then had brachytherapy, a type of radiotherapy which meant he had to lay still in a cast for three days.

Natasha said: “Seb really kept us going, when he was laughing or giggling it would lift us all and make us laugh. If he wasn’t in pain he had a smile on his face and wanted to play. I called him our superhero son for how he handled everything.”

CLIC Sargent social workers provided support to the whole family.

Natasha said: “The support from CLIC Sargent was amazing. They were always there for us and they had me in tears every time because they were so lovely. Everyone at CLIC Sargent has the time for you.

“We were in touch with two CLIC Sargent Social Workers, Claire and Nicolette, who helped us to sort out our finances by getting us some grants and were generally really emotionally supportive. They also arranged for Luke to stay at Paul’s House, the charity’s Home from Home in London, so that he could be close by while he was having some treatment. I don’t know how we would’ve coped without it.”

For every Barnaby bear bought, H. Samuel and Ernest Jones will donate the profits to CLIC Sargent. Barnaby is available for £9.99 in H. Samuel and Ernest Jones stores nationwide.

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