Worcester dad David Fletcher, 40, is taking on the virtual London Marathon on 4 October for childhood cancer research charity Children with Cancer UK after his daughter Izzy, 5, relapsed in April, following years of gruelling treatment for leukaemia.
Izzy was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) in January 2017, just three days before her second birthday. In May 2019, after more than 750 doses of chemotherapy at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Worcester Acute, and at home, Izzy reached the end of her treatment, and rung the End of Treatment Bell at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
But in April this year, Izzy’s cancer returned. Last month, she had lifesaving surgery for a skin infection and is due to start treatment for ALL again – she now potentially faces a further two years of treatment.
David, a local government auditor, commented:
Izzy’s treatment was made a lot easier and less harsh thanks to a place on the UKALL 2011 trial, which was part-funded by Children with Cancer UK – it offers kinder, less toxic therapies for children undergoing cancer treatment. Sadly Izzy’s initial treatment wasn’t successful and she relapsed in April this year and is now facing further treatment.
This year, Izzy has already spent 126 nights in hospital. She’s had 28 blood transfusions, and spent 11 nights in intensive care. She has been in hospital theatres 11 times and currently has three tubes poking out of her body. In November, Izzy will have spent half of her life being treated for leukaemia, and will potentially still have another two years ahead of her.
Instead of running the virtual marathon, David has decided to walk the distance – and is planning to take on ‘Worcestershire Way in a Day’ (31 miles) with seven friends to raise funds for Children with Cancer UK.
While it’s disappointing that the marathon is virtual this year due to the pandemic, it’s still so important to take part and raise funds for charities like Children with Cancer UK so they can continue to fund lifesaving research into childhood cancer treatment and help other children like Izzy.
Izzy was very excited about me running in the London Marathon but spending so many nights in hospital with Izzy has put my training on hold, so this will be more of a ‘country ramble’. However, the important thing is to complete it, and raise funds to help the next generation of children going through this horrible disease. Two of Izzy’s hospital buddies who suffered from leukaemia have died following relapse – we urgently need more effective and kinder treatments for children with cancer.
To support David, go to: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/davefletcher
Children with Cancer UK’s press office
T: 0207 404 0808 M: 07 795 956 342
About Children with Cancer UK
Children with Cancer UK is the leading national charity dedicated to research into childhood cancer.
We fund research into the causes and treatment of childhood cancers and provide support for families affected by childhood cancer. We have accelerated breakthroughs to improve childhood cancer survival rates and find kinder, more effective treatments with fewer toxic side effects. This ground-breaking research, which would otherwise go unfunded, saves the lives of children with cancer. Children with Cancer UK receives no government funding and relies entirely on the generosity of donations from supporters.
About childhood cancer and Children with Cancer UK’s impact
Every day in the UK, 12 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer.
Fifty years ago, only 30% of children with leukaemia survived, and for most other forms of childhood cancer survival rates were even lower. Today, thanks to our supporters and the dedication of visionary researchers like those we fund, more than 80% of young patients can be successfully treated. More vital research is needed though as there are still a number of cancers affecting children and young people with low survival rates and life-limiting side effects. Cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.