Why we’re covering 1000km for charity

Last Updated on 12th November 2020 by Freddie Chirgwin-Bell

We're walking, running and cycling over 1000km as a team to help raise funds for Marrow For Aurora.

2020 has been a difficult year for everybody. There have been lockdowns, quarantines and job losses across a huge variety of fields.

Some of those hardest hit have been charities. The incredible work these charities across the country do has been hampered by a lack of resources, movement and most importantly a lack of donations.

This is affecting charities and causes across the country. This isn’t just for the big charities, but the smaller ones are really suffering.

Across Kent a story broke over the summer that we have been incredibly moved by.

In May Westbrook mum Keisha Pile-Gray wrote an emotional account of discovering her then- eight-year-old daughter has a rare cancer that affects blood and bone marrow.

Over the months she has kept on online account of daughter Aurora’s treatment and the family were overjoyed to be given the news that Aurora was cancer free.

But on October 1st their world was again turned upside down when the family were told the cancer had spread to Aurora’s bones and the nine-year-old is now in need of a bone marrow transplant.

This is compounded by Aurora’s mixed ethnicity making it that much more difficult to find a match.

Keisha shares in her own words the struggles the family have, and are, facing and her appeal for people to sign up to the bone marrow register:

Aurora was diagnosed with Stage 4 Burkitt’s lymphoma in May this year. A cancer that had a 95% success rate in children and long lasting remission. After 4 gruelling cycles of intensive chemo, we were given the news that she was in remission, however this was short lived!

Aurora’s cancer became resistant to treatment and returned more aggressively than before. At initial diagnosis Aurora had 28% bone marrow involvement, but this increased had increased to 40% and we were put in an extremely difficult position for any parent. What had started as a 95% chance of survival became a 90% chance of failure. A 10% chance of our baby seeing another birthday or Christmas.

We are now in hospital for the long haul and have been asked if we are willing to proceed with treatment or we wish to take her home for her last few months, which to us isn’t an option. We were encouraged to wait for count recovery in order to proceed with CAR-T Therapy however, when we attended the consultation we were told that it has not been carried out successfully on one patient yet, and my gut is telling me it’s not right for her.

I’ve been hesitant as to whether or not to start my own personal fundraising for Aurora in the even that we need to get her to Europe or the USA however, I struggled to sleep last night, and I can’t help but feel that that’s where we are meant to be. Somewhere where they are researching this type of cancer, and ways to treat it. Burkitt’s lymphoma accounts for 1% of all NHL lymphoma.

£300,000 sounds like an unachievable amount, especially in the middle of a pandemic but let me put it into perspective.

It takes 300,000 people to donate £1

30,000 people to donate £10

3,000 people to donate £100

This decision wasn’t made lightly, being away from our family has already been so hard. Everything we have is being put towards Aurora’s treatment, but we need help. To find out more visit the blog on Aurora’s Journey .

Please note that we have started the page to get ahead. Funds that are not used in order to go abroad will be split between savings for Aurora, and donated to further Childhood Cancer Fundraisers.

As a result of this we’re walking, running and cycling over 1000km as a team to help raise funds for Marrow For Aurora.

Please donate as much as you can to our event or to donate directly please click this link (https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/aurorasjourney)

Or please sign up to the bone marrow registry Anthony Nolan at anthonynolan.org

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