Pupil’s brain tumour fight inspires teacher’s charity run

Priory School art teacher Charlotte Havelange with student Leon Woolcott, 12, who has inspired her fundraising run. Picture: Charlotte Havelange

Priory School art teacher Charlotte Havelange with student Leon Woolcott, 12, who has inspired her fundraising run. Picture: Charlotte Havelange


A brave schoolboy’s fight with a rare brain tumour, diabetes and other health problems has inspired one of his teachers to run a half marathon for charity this weekend.

Letchworth’s Leon Woolcott, 12, had surgery to remove the brain tumour in both 2012 and last year after it returned – and now has a cyst on the back of the brain, chronic fatigue and ptosis in his right eye.

Art teacher Charlotte Havelange, Leon’s form tutor at Hitchin’s Priory School, is set to show solidarity by running the Royal Parks Half Marathon in aid of Cancer Research UK on Sunday.

Miss Havelange told the Comet: “I have been inspired to help Leon as he is the most amazing young boy with more courage and enthusiasm than any other person I know. He makes me proud to know him every single day.

“He suffers every day from fatigue and sometimes headaches in school, and yet he is still the only student to smile and say hello to every teacher.

“The Woolcott family have been through a horrific ordeal. I know that for Leon and his amazing lovely, supportive family I cannot medically help – but doing this is the least I can do to give them a better Christmas.”

The Priory School has already held numerous events like talent shows and doughnut sales to raise money for the Woolcott family and help ease some of the emotional hardship they have gone through.

Next up is a fundraiser at the school off Bedford Road on the evening of Wednesday, October 18, with an auction of prizes donated by Hitchin businesses.

The many items on offer include a four-ball voucher from Essendon Country Club near Hatfield, a cookery camp and a day of gardening – and Leon’s parents Mark and Natasha will be invited on stage to receive all the money raised by the school.

Leon was diagnosed with a tumour at the age of seven, after a hard fall in which he hit his head in the school playground.

He has tirelessly worked to help others, raising funds for The Brain Tumour Charity – and mum Natasha said this week that her 12-year-old remained unfailingly upbeat.

“Leon had his first Brain tumour removed in 2012, which left him with many health problems such as diabetes insipidus, growth hormone deficiency, adrenal deficiency and truncal obesity,” she said.

“In 2015 his tumour had grown back, and the following year he had more surgery. Having recovered from that, he now has a cyst on the back of the brain which eventually will require more surgery.

“On top of this he has dizzy spells and chronic fatigue, and he suffers with right eye ptosis which as he grows will require more surgery for eye closure.

“This sounds like a lot, but he remains upbeat.”

Miss Havelange’s fundraising for Cancer Research UK has already topped £400. If you’d like to donate, see fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/charlottes-fundraising-page-1239.

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