Fighting for Matthew
A FITNESS club is bidding to help a couple who have been devastated by news that their two-year-old son has been diagnosed with cancer. The David Lloyd Centre on Stevenage Leisure Park will be the focal point of the events among members next week to help
A FITNESS club is bidding to help a couple who have been devastated by news that their two-year-old son has been diagnosed with cancer.
The David Lloyd Centre on Stevenage Leisure Park will be the focal point of the events among members next week to help the financial plight of Lucy and Gary Dale of Eastbourne Avenue, Stevenage.
Their son Matthew was a bubbly young boy until August this year when he suddenly fell ill.
His mother thought he had a teething sore but tests revealed that he was suffering from a form of cancer known as neuroblastoma.
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The cancer has attacked Matthew's bone marrow and he has tumours in his body and his face. They have been told he has a 30 per cent chance of survival.
At the moment he is undergoing 70 days of chemotherapy at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.
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One of the organisers of the appeal to help the Dale family is Sharon College who said the response from David Lloyd staff and members has been overwhelming.
"We wanted to help this family financially so they can support Matthew without any worries," said Mrs College.
"This wonderful little boy is seriously ill and the time his parents devote to him means a big financial strain on them as well as coping with the trauma of Matthew's illness."
During the week David Lloyd members hope to swim 14,000 lengths of the club swimming pool equivalent o the length of the River Severn at between 20p and 50p a length and there will also be a children's tea party and family splash session.
Members of the gym staff have also agreed to be sponsored to have their legs waxed. Events will run from next Monday, October 16, to Sunday, October 22.
Lucy, 30, who also has a daughter Rachel, five, said this week: "Our lives fell apart on August 22. I thought he was teething so I took him to the doctor's and he said his face was a bit swollen.
"The gum continued to get puffy so we went and saw the dental team at the Lister Hospital. Later we were devastated by the news Matthew had cancer.
"It is pretty serious and he is already at stage four. Beyond that his condition will be terminal
"The tumour in his face has attacked his cheekbone after spreading from the primary tumour in his adrenal gland and has also attacked his bone marrow.
"Hopefully Matthew will be able to have an operation to remove the tumours before Christmas.
Talking about the fundraising week for the family Lucy added:
"Without the help from all these wonderful people we would be on the breadline."
"My husband is an electrician with a building company but earns less money as he is not being paid for taking time off work to either look after Matthew or our daughter.
"I never asked for this help, it was just through friends wanting to help, and all the money will go towards us being able to cover the expenses of looking after Matthew. What is left over will go to Lister Hospital and Addenbrooke's.
* If Comet readers want to donate to the fund they should send cheques to the fitness centre made out to David Lloyd with Matthew written on the back.