Posted on Monday 2 December 2019

in News

Young cancer patient and award-winning fundraiser flying to New York for Nasdaq Stock Exchange bell ringing with JustGiving®

Maddison ‘Maddy’ Harris, 9, from Stoke Goldington, has been chosen to help ring the opening bell for the Nasdaq Stock Exchange New York City alongside JustGiving®, a part of Blackbaud, to celebrate Giving Tuesday on 3rd December.

JustGiving has chosen Maddy to help ring the bell after they also crowned her as their 2018 JustGiving Young Fundraiser of the Year for her, ‘Don’t Stare It’s Only Hair’ campaign. To date, Maddy has raised over £53,000 for CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families and is aiming to break the £60,000 barrier on the day.

The ringing of the bell will be livestreamed online with viewers across the world to celebrate Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that started in the USA in 2012, co-founded by Blackbaud, where people around the world are encouraged to do something to support the good causes and communities that mean so much to them. This can be done by volunteering your time, donating money, sharing skills, donating goods, food, or clothes – the list is endless!

Maddison Harris

Maddy was inspired to start her ‘Don’t Stare It’s Only Hair’ campaign after being diagnosed with leukaemia in November 2017. Her Mum, Lauren, wanted Maddy to have something positive to lift her spirits.

Maddy’s first complaint was back and leg pain, it turned out the leukaemia had fractured her spine. After a few visits to the local hospital, the family took her to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where the doctors informed the family that she had leukaemia.

Lauren Harris, Maddy’s mum, said, “The whole experience of the diagnosis was surreal. We had been on the ward for two weeks prior to diagnosis. They sat us down and said the words, ‘I’m afraid Maddy has leukaemia.’ We felt like our whole world had crumbled, we were in disbelief that something like this could happen.”

Maddy had a Hickman line put in and spent many months at John Radcliffe having weekly chemotherapy. Now, she has treatment at home in tablets and weekly bloods to check her levels.

Lauren said, “Seeing your daughter go through the treatment is absolutely heartbreaking. One of the hardest things was seeing her hair fall out, someone’s hair is such a part of who they are and when Maddy lost her hair I felt like I had lost a part of her. Luckily Maddy took it all in her stride and wasn’t fazed at all.”

As Maddy’s hair started to fall out, the family decided to shave it. Her dad also shaved his hair and the family came up with the idea for ‘Don’t Stare It’s Only Hair.’ They created a JustGiving page and started fundraising by nominating people to shave on social media and those people could nominate others and donate. Overnight the page went viral and the fundraising took off as football teams, schoolteachers, children and adults all rallied together and ‘braved the shave’.

Lauren chose to raise funds for CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, after receiving support from one of the charity’s social workers provided practical, emotional and financial support.

 

Maddison with her laptop.

The family was surprised when JustGiving contacted them to announce that Maddison was a finalist for their 2018 JustGiving Young Fundraiser of the Year Award. At the awards ceremony in London, JustGiving announced that Maddy had won the award.

Lauren said, “When they announced that Maddy had won, I was in shock, there were lots of happy tears. I was so proud!”

Now the family are looking forward to travelling to New York to ring the bell and Maddy is determined to get her page to £60,000 on Giving Tuesday.

Lauren said: “We are so looking forward to ringing the bell and spreading awareness for CLIC Sargent in New York and across the world. I’m so proud of Maddy for everything she has done and it’s such an honour to be there – I’m sure again there will be some happy tears. She is so determined and we really hope she can hit the next target.”

Rachel Kirby-Rider, Director of Income and Engagement for CLIC Sargent, says, “Maddy and her family continue to amaze everyone here at CLIC Sargent. We are delighted to hear she has this amazing and prestigious opportunity to ring the bell for Giving Tuesday and raise even more funds

“Maddy is a superstar fundraiser and we hope her story inspires others around the world to support charities like ours this Giving Tuesday in any way they can. Your support means we can be there for children with cancer like Maddy and their families.”

To donate to Maddy’s ‘Don’t Start It’s Only Hair’ campaign and help her hit her £60,000 target go to:  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bebraveandshavebegreatanddonate

ENDS 

For more information about CLIC Sargent, an interview or images, please contact Jack Wilson on 020 8752 2833 or jack.wilson@clicsargent.org.uk. Out of hours contact 08448 481189.

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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