Freddie’s Fighting Fund smashes target

FREDDIE Rowe-Crowder has enough money for his life-saving cancer treatment after his fighting fund smashed its target this week thanks to the overwhelming generosity of the public.

It gives the brave seven-year-old from Wheathampstead enough money for four cycles of the pioneering antibody treatment in Germany which will hopefully cure the childhood cancer, called neuroblastoma, that he has been battling against since the beginning of last year.

Since launching the fundraising campaign in the Herts Advertiser less than a month ago, money has poured in from people far and wide and it’s thanks to two enormous cheques from people that had read about Freddie’s plight in the newspaper that the total broke through the �60,000 mark on this week.

As well as generous donations, his friends at St Helen’s School have been busy fundraising as have his old team mates at the Wheathampstead Wanderers, which held a sponsored 2K run on Sunday.

Local businesses and organisations also rallied round in support of young Freddie, whose courage and bravery has been an inspiration to everyone.

There is a chance that more money will be needed if he requires further cycles of treatment and his family, friends and the Herts Advertiser are poised to re-launch the fundraising efforts should that be the case.

But for now it’s fingers crossed that the first three cycles of the pilot treatment in Greifswald will finally free Freddie from the grips of the devastating disease which has already seen him undergo chemotherapy, transplants and surgery.

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After all treatment options were exhausted last year a small amount of cancer remained and in September doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital told Freddie’s parents Tania Rowe and Tep Crowder that his condition was terminal, giving him just months to live.

But he fought back against all the odds and it’s now thought that this new ground-breaking treatment will give him a last hope of survival.

Thanking the many people that helped towards Freddie’s Fighting Fund, Tep said: “The generosity of people is nothing short of a miracle. In only a month, the fundraising team and public donations have hit the target we needed to cover three cycles of treatment, plus a fourth cycle should it be required.

“Our eternal thanks go to all those who donated or gave so much of their time and enthusiasm so that Freddie might have a chance of life.

“Finding your child has cancer is like being in a head-on car smash, only worse, because you’re helpless. You can’t fight this battle. Finding that, after all the treatment, it’s still there, just turns you into a shell. You think there’s nothing left, though you continue to hope and pray. Then real hope in the form of a new treatment, tempered by the fact there’s no funding. Will hope be taken away by financial reality?”

He added: “The people who have opened up this hope for us, who have taken away the desperate worry that it might pass us by, will never understand the profound effect it has on us or the immense gratitude we have. Though our fundraising effort now closes, we thank everyone with all our hearts.”

Freddie has already had one cycle of the treatment with the second scheduled to start on Monday after it was delayed a week due to him catching an infection.

Although the infection slowed down his recovery from the first phase of treatment, with the help of medication Freddie is fighting fit again despite weighing just 20kg and tests last week have shown that the cancer isn’t spreading.

He even managed to enjoy his good friend Ben Hobden’s eighth birthday party at the weekend which included playing football in the garden and a trip to a restaurant.

Ben’s mum Lisa Hobden, who led the fundraising marathon, said: “Thank you to everybody who has helped. It’s amazing what can be achieved when everybody pulls together and I hope that this gives Freddie the chance he deserves.”

“I’d particularly like to thank Joe at the Thai Cottage for providing a platform to launch our fundraising efforts and to the Herts Advertiser for taking on this campaign and handling it so sensitively and getting the message out to a wider audience, which has resulted in some incredibly generous donations from the public. Without the Herts Advertiser getting the message out there is no way we would have raised that money.”

The Friends of St Helen’s, which has been running the appeal and fundraising, said: “At the beginning of this half term we had our first fundraiser for Freddie, a coffee morning on April 28. Since then, there have been further fundraising events both within and outside of the school and donations from Freddie’s family and friends, parents of St Helen’s and the wider community.

“We could never have imagined that in only six weeks the initial target would have been reached. It is really wonderful how our community has come together in response to this appeal and on behalf of the Friends of St Helen’s Association we would like to extend our warmest thanks to everyone who has been involved in this so far.”

Continue to read about Freddie’s progress through the treatment and beyond in the Herts Advertiser.