School pupils raise £6,000 in support of friend with bone cancer

Oliver and brother Joseph in hospital

Posted on: 28 Mar 2023

A group of local primary school children has raised over £6,000 for Nottingham Hospitals Charity after their young friend was diagnosed with bone cancer.

Oliver Shilton, aged 10, was diagnosed with cancer in his hip in November 2022, and is being cared for on children’s cancer ward E39 at Nottingham Children’s Hospital.

His school teachers and friends at Leen Mills Primary School in Hucknall decided to raise money for ward E39 to thank them for looking after Oliver, and took on a running challenge around the school field last month (Friday 10th
February, 2023) in aid of Nottingham Hospitals Charity.

Talking about Oliver’s diagnosis, mum Nichola Shilton said: “Oliver loves playing football and rugby, but he had developed pain in his hip and leg, causing him to limp and no longer partake in his sports. He had severe pain during the night and had to have strong painkillers prescribed as paracetamol and ibuprofen weren’t sufficient.

“When we received Oliver’s diagnosis we felt complete shock and despair. We were expecting to be told it was an infection in his bone, so in comparison easier to treat. Both Oliver and his younger brother Joseph, who’s eight, felt scared. We are still processing it as at any time we can be thrown a curve ball.”

Oliver stands with his parents and brother outside a venue

Oliver with his parents and brother

Once Nichola had informed Oliver’s school about the news, she was approached by head teacher Karen Goldson with a fundraising idea for Nottingham Hospitals Charity.

Mrs Goldson explained: “We were hit by the terrible news that Oliver had been diagnosed with bone cancer in his hip in November 2022. This was a lot for us all in school to deal with. We are a real family school and straight away lots of our parents wanted to show support. We thought about doing some fundraising, and his friends in his class were really keen to do something big to raise a lot of money.

“Oliver and his family are big England rugby fans so we decided to complete our first fundraising event to coincide with England's first game against Scotland. We worked out the distance from Murrayfield, the home of Scotland rugby, to Twickenham, the home of England rugby, and then split the distance between the number of pupils in school.

“On Friday 10th February all children took part in a run, half a mile for our foundation stage pupils, one mile for years one to four, and our year fives and sixes ran two miles. By the end of the morning, we had completed just over 460 miles altogether, and the teacher all got involved too!"

The pupils and teachers raised an incredible total of just over £6,000, with money still coming in.

Oliver’s mum Nichola said: “Honestly it’s incredible what they have been able to do in such a short space of time! It is truly a staggering amount. We are so very grateful to Oliver’s school and all of the support they have shown us all. We are very lucky to have so many amazing people in his life. Not just the staff but his fellow pupils!”

The money raised for Nottingham Hospitals Charity will be donated to children’s cancer ward E39, where it will help fund things like crafts activities, games and play equipment for patients, specialist medical equipment, and enhancements to make the ward more child-friendly.

Oliver holds up a certificate

Oliver at Nottingham Children's Hospital

Oliver is halfway through completing 14 cycles of chemotherapy, and will also receive radiotherapy during his final five cycles. During his treatment he stays on ward E39, and also has regular hospital stays if he is unwell in between cycles.

Speaking about the staff at Nottingham Children’s Hospital, which is based at the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nichola said: “We couldn’t ask for any more from everyone we have come into contact with at the hospital, especially ward E39. They are worth their weight in gold!

“It is a very intense treatment plan he is on which is tough, but they do everything they can to put him at ease whilst also making sure he gets everything he needs.”

Lucy Dalgress, Community Fundraising Manager at Nottingham Hospitals Charity, said: “We are so grateful to all the staff and pupils at Leen Mills School who have raised a truly incredible amount of money in such a short space of time. These funds will make such a difference to other young patients like Oliver, being treated on ward E39.

“No parent wants to see their child in hospital, but thanks to the support of everyone at Leen Mills School, we’ll be able to make hospital stays that little bit more comfortable and less daunting for young children like Oliver.”

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