Knebworth schoolboy forgoes Christmas presents to help Keech Hospice Care patients like Orla
An eight-year-old schoolboy says all he wants for Christmas this year is for Santa Claus to donate his presents to a charity which cares for his friend's seriously ill cousin.
Luke Bedford from Knebworth wrote the selfless letter to Father Christmas after discovering six-year-old Orla Hermitage from Stevenage has a brain tumour.
Luke says his only wish this Christmas is for Santa to help the little girl and other unwell children like her, to be cared for by Keech Hospice Care – the children’s hospice for Herts and Beds.
He said: “My best friend Thomas told me his cousin has cancer.
“She’s very poorly. I don’t really know what it is, but I know it’s very bad. I don’t want any presents I want Santa to help and so the charity can help Orla and other people, and my friend can have a cousin.”
In the letter, Luke writes: “Dear Mr Claus and Mrs Claus, aka Santa. The only thing I want for Christmas is money for charity.
“Please may you give it to Keech Hospice and sick children because I have a friend Thomas who has a cousin who is currently suffering from cancer and I want my friend to have a cousin and other people. Please, please, please give me no presents for Christmas, love Luke.”
Luke’s mum, Tanya Bedford, 41, says she was completely bowled... over by her son’s selfless act.
“I thought Luke might put something in the letter like ‘if you could still get me this or that’, but he didn’t.”
She added: “My husband Darren and I are so surprised by the letter. We’re beyond proud. I don’t think Luke knows much about cancer, but he does know it is a horrible thing.”
Orla was diagnosed with cancer at 10 months old. Her parents Susan and Simon Hermitage, both 37, say it’s worrying times as they wait to hear if more chemotherapy is working after the family discovered the tumour had grown again in May this year.
Susan said: “We’ll find out just a few days before Christmas if Orla’s chemo is working. There’s a lot hanging in the balance. We desperately want to celebrate Christmas, but we’re very aware it might be our last with Orla. Orla’s been so poorly the last few weeks I’m just not sure.
“It’s so sweet to hear about Luke’s letter and we’re touched by it. It’s utterly selfless and an extraordinary thing for a little boy to do.”
She also praised the nurses at Keech Hospice Care, which has supported the family in numerous ways since Orla’s diagnosis.
To donate to Keech Hospice Care this Christmas text ORLA17 and either £5, £10 or £20 to 70070, or visit Luke’s crowdfunding page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tanya-bedford.