Sam Brown, 12, from York, was named winner of the customer card category by staff at Morrisons head office in Bradford, after creating an image of Rudolph carrying a Morrisons bag. The competition was open to all children who have been supported by CLIC Sargent – the UK’s biggest charity supporting children and young people with cancer and Morrisons charity partner.
Judges, who included Morrisons CEO David Potts, loved the intricate design and attention to detail on Sam’s impressive drawing. His design will be handed out to every customer who orders from the Christmas food-to-order range, with their shopping.
Mum, Emma Brown, said:
“Sam loves to draw, but his illness has left him tired and disinterested. When our CLIC Sargent social worker told us about the competition, it gave Sam a real focus and he threw himself in to designing it. We are thrilled that he has won.”
Katie Dutton, Food to Order Manager at Morrisons added: “We loved Sam’s design and are delighted to be showcasing his talents as we wish all our food-to-order customers a Merry Christmas this year. CLIC Sargent helped Sam’s family through their ordeal, and we couldn’t be prouder to be partnered with such a life-changing charity.”
Sam was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in January this year after being taken to the GP with suspected anaemia. 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.
“It was one thing after another” added Emma.
“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 this year, 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 haven’t been back to work. I am Sam’s only carer. We are in the house together 24/7.”
CLIC Sargent support
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.
“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.”
Christmas at home
Emma and Sam are now looking forward to Christmas together at home. Sam has started back at school part time, and is hoping to build up to full time in the New Year.
Morrisons is partnered with CLIC Sargent until 2020, with a fundraising target of £8m. Find out more about how Morrisons fundraising will help CLIC Sargent.