We're calling on generous Sun readers to help make child cancer sufferers smile this Christmas
LITTLE Dylan Jeffs is one of thousands of children living with cancer – and we are calling for YOUR help to make them smile this Christmas.
We launched a drawing competition last month, with our campaign partner Young Lives vs Cancer, and the winning designs have now been turned into limited-edition Christmas cards for sale.
We are asking our generous readers to buy them — as every single penny will go towards providing presents for young sufferers staying at the charity’s Homes From Home centres over Christmas.
Three-year-old Dylan will spend the next three years being treated for leukaemia.
But at least he will be at home this festive season — unlike thousands of others.
His dad Russell, 35, an HGV driver, said: “Please buy these cards. The money goes to making Christmas special for children, like Dylan, who are facing cancer treatment.
“He’s lucky not to be in hospital for Christmas but if he was, knowing someone, somewhere, cared enough to help him have presents would mean the world.”
Dylan was diagnosed in January this year.
Mum Rachael, 32, said: “If it had been before, I don’t think we would have been able to sort presents, and Christmas would have gone out of the window.
“All we could focus on doing was going from day to day. It has been a whirlwind ever since.
“Simply buying some cards will mean children with cancer can have the Christmas they deserve.
“We’re lucky Dylan is at a point in his treatment cycle where he’ll be home for Christmas. But lots of children and families we know will be in hospital getting treatment or staying at Homes from Home.”
Russell and social worker Rachael have now organised a perfect family Christmas at their home in Dudley, West Mids, all carefully planned around Dylan’s chemo treatments.
Rachael said: “From when he was born, he was always getting ill. He’d catch bugs and be poorly for a while but he’d always get better.
“After Christmas last year he went down with another bug but he didn’t get any better.
“He wasn’t sleeping and was really clingy. Then he got a rash on his tummy that started to spread. I called 111 and was sent an ambulance.”
Lots of children and families we know will be in hospital getting treatment or staying at Homes from Home.
Ever since the couple got the devastating diagnosis, cancer has become part of their daily lives.
Russell said: “He’s battled sepsis, had operations and lost his hair in his fight against leukaemia. When he was diagnosed he had intensive treatment which left him really lifeless.
“When he came out of hospital in March, I took him to feed the ducks — but he was too tired even to throw some bread. Watching your child go from racing around to being so sick and vulnerable was horrible.
“Now Dylan has a line on his chest for his medication. He has a little doctor’s kit he likes to play with.
“He was playing with it the other week and started trying to find the ‘central line’ on my chest. He’s spent a quarter of his little life with cancer so it’s become a new normal for him.
“But it is tough. He has a weak immune system. If he gets even the slightest temperature we have to take him straight to hospital.
“Every single place we go, we are always thinking about germs and bacteria and what he could potentially pick up.
“We’ve got a long road ahead but he has responded well to treatment so far and we’re taking it day by day. That’s all you can do.”
PRESENTER and former Blue Peter host Konnie Huq, 46, who was one of our Christmas card judges, said: “I’ve got mine and have started writing them already.
“So get going and order some now, so you can do the same and as many presents as possible can be bought for so many of those children who are living with cancer this Christmas.”
KEITH Lemon comedian Leigh Francis, whose dad died of cancer at 47, said: “It’s so cool your competition winners have had their own Christmas cards printed and sold, and even cooler that they’re helping children with cancer this Christmas.”
The 48-year-old added: “To think of a child suffering at any time is so sad. At Christmas it is dreadful. Please all buy these cards.”
HOLLYOAKS actress Jorgie Porter, 33, said: “This is such a wonderful campaign. I hope all your readers buy these cards so that children with cancer can have an extra-special Christmas present from a stranger who cares.
“My love goes to every brave little soldier fighting this horrible disease. May all their Christmas wishes come true.”
SINGER Michelle Heaton said: “This year I am focusing on giving back.
“Everyone can do their bit, and buying these cards so a child with cancer can have a special present is just wonderful.”
Michelle, 42, added: “Christmas is a time for giving and those children really need your support at this time of year. I will be buying some of the cards.”
APPRENTICE star and Sun on Sunday columnist Karren Brady, 52, said: “For families with children affected by cancer, the past two years have been even more unbearably tough.
“So please find it in your hearts to get behind this fantastic campaign and buy some of these amazing cards – and spread some joy to those who need it most this Christmas.”
MASTERCHEF judge Gregg Wallace said: “If you’re going to buy a charity card this Christmas, then make it one of these.”
Gregg, 57, added: “We can all feel for parents with seriously unwell children at any time. Christmas is a time for families and a time for giving.
"Put a smile on the faces of a worried family this Christmas by doing something good.”
How to buy cards
THESE cracking cards are available online at younglivesvs cancer.org.uk and from any of the charity’s 13 shops.
Each pack, printed courtesy of printed.com, contain 12 cards – four of each winning design – and cost £4. Your cards will arrive within three days – plenty of time to write and send them to loved ones for Christmas.
Young Lives vs Cancer has charity shops in Gloucester plus Bridgwater, Clevedon, Wells and Yeovil in Somerset; Downend, Fishponds, Staple Hill and Keynsham near Bristol; Exeter, Newton Abbot and Tiverton in Devon; and Saltash in Cornwall.
Also see shop.younglivesvscancer.org.uk/
How to donate
TO support the day-to-day running of Young Lives vs Cancer’s Homes from Home, go to younglivesvscancer.org.uk/cardsforkids.
Or text: GIVE 5 to 70025 to give £5; GIVE 10 to 70025 to give £10; GIVE 20 to 70025 to give £20.
Or call 0300 330 0803 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm).
Or send a cheque payable to “Young Lives vs Cancer” with your name and address to: The Sun on Sunday Christmas Cards For Kids, Young Lives vs Cancer campaign, 126 Fairlie Road, Slough SL1 4PY. Please put a stamp on the envelope.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: As a supporter of Young Lives vs Cancer, you will get updates and news of appeals by phone and post.
You can change how you hear from the charity by emailing [email protected] vscancer.org.uk or by calling 0300 330 0803.
Texts cost a donation amount plus one standard network rate message. Young Lives vs Cancer will receive 100 per cent of your donation.
To opt out of calls, text NOCALL CLIC to 78866. To opt out of SMS, text NOSMS CLIC to 78866.
Texts will be charged at your network’s standard message charge
If you have any questions, call Young Lives vs Cancer on 0300 330 0803.
Registered charity number 1107328 and registered in Scotland SC039857.
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