By Andy Hirst
Fundraising to save the life of a seven-year-old Holmfirth girl battling a rare form of cancer has now topped the £400,000 mark.
But it will continue as Huddersfield Hub can reveal that Eden Smith may have to make a dozen trips to the USA for specialist treatment over the coming years.
The original total was around £350,000 and if anything is left over after Eden has completed her cancer treatment it will be donated to another good cause.
Eden’s family have been staggered by the phenomenal response to their appeal for help which started in the Holme Valley but quickly spread across Huddersfield.
It’s thought to be the biggest response to any fundraising appeal for a single person in the town’s history as Huddersfield quickly took Eden to their hearts.
A sponsored walk by just over 400 people in atrocious weather in February has brought in just over £200,000 – well over £100,000 more than was expected.
Eden’s dad, Lee, said: “As a family there aren’t the words to thank people for all they’ve done to help Eden. It’s been really surreal that all this has happened in just six months or so. It just snowballed and snowballed.
“We still don’t know what the exact cost will be for the treatment in the USA but the money will need to cover the next five years for Eden.”
Lee paid particular tribute to the walkers who braved torrential rain to do the 22-mile walk from Scholes near Holmfirth to the John Smith’s Stadium and back on Saturday, February 22.
Lee said: “I did the 3 Peaks in Yorkshire last week and found that easier than the walk in February. It rained so hard and was so cold the conditions were horrendous and yet more than 400 people did the walk for Eden. To say they went above and beyond that day would be an understatement.”
As things stand, Eden will need to go to the USA seven times in the first year, four in the second and then at least once in the third. She will be treated at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York.
Eden was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma in April 2021, a rare and aggressive childhood cancer that has a 40% to 50% chance of long-term survival at diagnosis and affects fewer than 100 children in the UK every year. Scans and tests showed the cancer was located in seven places around Eden’s body.
She has completed gruelling chemotherapy, undergone a major operation and had stem cell treatment with radiotherapy and her immunotherapy treatment starts on May 16 when she has to go into hospital for 10 days.
To prevent the cancer returning Eden will then need Bivalent Vaccine treatment which is now only available in New York and the earliest she’d probably be able to go to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre would be this summer.
More fundraisers are coming up:
A music festival will be held in the Holme Valley next weekend to raise money for the appeal.
It’s called Edenstock and will be held at the Cricketers Arms pub, Deanhouse, Netherthong, on Saturday, May 7.
It runs from 2pm to 9pm and 500 advance tickets are £10 each, otherwise it’s £12 at the gate on the day. Under 18s are free.
The local bands lined up include rock band Jagged Edge, indie band Simones, cover band Bash The Bishop who do hits from the 1950s right up to now and dance band Sass And The Groove.
T-shirts and wristbands will be on sale to boost the total and the event will also feature a raffle and chocolate tombola. Tickets are available from the pub.
Mason Whittle, a 15-year-old singer songwriter from Huddersfield will be doing gigs in Slaithwaite next Saturday to raise money for Eden after he was inspired by the fundraising being done to support her by the Northern Fitness Gym in Linthwaite. Gym owner Kev Bower has set 100 members the task to raise £50,000 towards the appeal.
On May 7 Mason will be at the Northern Sole Café at 11.30am, the Commercial pub at 1pm, The Little Bridge at 2pm and The Shoulder of Mutton at 3pm.
Mason, of Linthwaite, revealed: “I started playing the guitar a couple of years ago and taught myself to play from YouTube videos. Over the last six months I’ve played more and more live gigs and when I saw Kev Bower appealing for support to raise money for Eden I just wanted to help.”
Mason, a pupil at Colne Valley High School, writes his own tracks and also does covers ranging from Motown to Oasis. His set lasts up to an hour.
* Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting. Copyright Andy Hirst.