Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

How Eight Years of Fundraising Is. Giving Kiddies a Fighting Chance

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

How Eight Years of Fundraising Is. Giving Kiddies a Fighting Chance

Article excerpt

Byline: Marie Levy

Having a child diagnosed with a brain tumour is every parent's nightmare.

But the devastating news is no longer a death sentence thanks to charities like the Marske-based Katie Trust.

Six-year-old Katie Neal died of cancer in 1999 after a 14-month battle with medulloblastoma, the most common form of malignant brain tumour in children.

Her parents, Martin and Debbie, set up the Katie Trust in her memory with the aim of raising pounds 50,000 for a PHD research post at the Northern Institute of Cancer Research in Newcastle.

Last month marked the eighth anniversary of Katie's death, and over the years the total raised by her trust has reached a staggering pounds 270,000.

Dad Martin said: "It's absolutely terrific to see her name is being kept alive by this sort of work and that something good has come out of it.

"She would absolutely love it. One of the reasons we wanted to do something like this is it is very much in the spirit of what she was like. She was the kind of girl who would put others before her.

"When we first started, even just to get pounds 50,000 seemed like a mountain to climb but the momentum just started really quickly and it's not stopped.

"It never ceases to touch us how generous people are with their time and their money. It's phenomenal."

The charity has already funded three PHD studentships, bought vital research equipment and held parties for children with cancer.

Its next target is to raise pounds 86,000 for a fourth research post.

Katie was a bright and popular Redcar schoolgirl but took ill at Christmas in 1997, with the tumour spreading to her spinal cord.

She was taken to Newcastle General Hospital where she underwent a six-hour operation to remove the main tumour and received months of intensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Throughout her ordeal she showed tremendous courage and in October 1998 she had a clear scan.

But she was taken ill again the following Christmas and died in March 1999.

Money raised by the Katie Trust is helping Dr Steve Clifford and his team at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research to improve diagnosis and develop drugs to treat the tumours. …

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