Posted on Thursday 5 March 2020
Luton girl’s cancer journey inspires schools to take on epic 60km challenge for charity
A SCHOOL girl’s shock cancer journey has inspired 26 staff members from two local primary schools to take on a 60km challenge this March.
‘Amelie’s Amblers’ is made up of teachers and staff from St Matthews Primary School and Putteridge Primary School and is in support of 7-year-old Putteridge student Amelie Bowling, from Luton, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in June last year.
On Friday, March 27, the team will walk 60km from Luton to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where Amelie receives treatment, representing the journey the family makes on a regular basis for critical treatment. Children from both schools will take on a sponsored walk too as part of the challenge.
The team plan to raise £14,000 for CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading charity for children and young people with cancer and their families, after the charity has given vital support to Amelie and her family.
Charlotte and Darren Bowling, both 35, are Amelie’s parents. Darren said: “Hearing the news that your child has cancer is any parent’s worst fear; we fell apart. It’s been a tough time for us all, but we are so proud of how brave Amelie has been and we’ve been so touched by the support family and friends have shown. It’s really boosted us all.”
Dad Darren said Amelie is now on maintenance treatment and is back at school on days she feels well enough. The schoolgirl is due to finish treatment in August 2021.
“Amelie’s treatment has been really hard and quite horrendous. It’s been challenging emotionally too, and it has taken its toll not just on Amelie but the whole family. Without CLIC Sargent, I honestly don’t know how emotionally and practically we would have coped.
“A CLIC Sargent social worker was the first person we saw after Amelie was diagnosed who wasn’t a doctor. They just wanted to help and have been amazing. Our social worker went to Amelie’s school to do training around helping what the family are going through and supporting the school, teachers and year group which really helped.
“When we were picking a charity to support, there was no hesitation for it to be CLIC Sargent after all the support they have given us. The school has been incredible and done everything they can and more to support Amelie too. It’s going to be a really special day.”
Through taking on the challenge, Amelie’s Amblers not only hope to raise valuable funds for CLIC Sargent, but also raise awareness of how far families have to travel – often more than once a week – in order to receive life-saving cancer treatment. CLIC Sargent estimates that on average, cancer costs families an extra £600 per month.
Colin Pickard, the Head Teacher of Putteridge Primary School said: “You never as a head teacher expect to be given the news that one of your pupils is seriously ill. CLIC Sargent were immediately available to provide support and guidance not only to the family but also to the school.
“We are very proud and grateful to the team of intrepid trekkers for rising to the challenge, bringing the whole school community together and demonstrating that something so positive can come out of this situation.”
Jane Thomas, Head Teacher of St Matthew’s Primary School said: “When St Matthew’s were asked to get involved in a fundraising event for CLIC Sargent, I knew my team would be up for the challenge! We pride ourselves in doing what we can to support the community and families at difficult times, and our staff, pupils and parents are beyond generous in supporting the charities we choose to support.
“I am really proud of the whole team taking part for being such brilliant role models to pupils at Putteridge and St Matthew’s: for taking on a challenge, overcoming barriers and taking on what may have seemed impossible to start with. We hope to raise £14,000 to support CLIC Sargent’s work, which has become close to both school’s hearts over the past year.”
Karen Olden, Fundraising Engagement Manager at CLIC Sargent said: “The Bowling’s are an amazing and inspiring family. The energy of the family, and their friends and family around them is infectious and we are so grateful to have their incredible support at a most difficult time for them.
“We’re so excited for Amelie’s Ambler’s big challenge and we can’t wait to cheer everyone on. We want to say a huge thank you to both schools and all staff involved. We hope the local community will really get behind the day, sponsor staff, and help CLIC Sargent to continue to be there for more children and young people facing cancer.”
To support and sponsor Amelie’s Amblers and find out more, visit www.justgiving.com/ameliesamblers.
Notes to editors
For more information, an interview or images, please contact Jessica Browne on 0117 311 2659, or email Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org.
About cancer in children and young people
Today, 12 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.
About CLIC Sargent
When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families. We provide specialist support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally. For more information, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk
Note to sub editors
Please note that the name ‘CLIC Sargent’ should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word ‘CLIC’ should always appear in capitals, as above.
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