Tuesday 21st April 2009 by C. Freeman
Sixth Formers at Brooke Weston have raised £16,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust, the largest donation ever received from a school. Student Jamie Scoular masterminded the project and it took just over a year to hit the total. It was the most ambitious fund-raising ever launched at Brooke Weston and exceeded even the students' expectations as they had originally hoped to raise £15,000.
Teenage Cancer Trust sets up specialist units so that teenagers with cancer can be treated in comfortable and age-appropriate surroundings. The money raised at Brooke Weston has been earmarked for the £750,000 unit, which is planned for Leicester Royal Infirmary to treat teenagers from both Leicester and Northamptonshire.
Jamie wanted to raise funds for the Trust as he has twice beaten leukaemia and was treated on a children's ward. He said: 'I was ill when I was six and once again I relapsed when I was 13, and I was being treated at the same place but it was very different. All the things at the ward that I was on were aimed at six year olds. I had great fun when I was six, but when I was 13 and went back there things hadn't changed and that's when it became apparent how hard life was for a teenager with cancer. They didn't have any PlayStations or internet access and so that's why these Teenage Cancer Trust units are absolutely amazing. Each teenager has their own space, they have clinics where teenagers can talk about their illness which is a big thing because you know that other people are going through it with you and you feel a lot stronger for it; you can help each other out.'
A major fund-raiser was a charity run last July in London. After months of intense training 22 students and staff completed the 10km course. Back then the charity fund stood at around £5,000 but parties, mufti days and bag packing events have boosted that figure. Money was also donated from the Christmas Carol Concert and Parents in Partnership supported the cause by donating money raised at the recent BW Factor talent show.
Dianne McCutcheon, a regional fundraising manager at Teenage Cancer Trust, came to Brooke Weston to receive the cheque at a special assembly. She said: 'It's the biggest donation of £16,000 that a school has ever made to Teenage Cancer Trust and, as far as I know, it's the biggest donation that any school in Northamptonshire has ever made. We are so proud at Teenage Cancer Trust of everyone who has been involved. The money will make such a difference to the appeal to get the unit up and running in Leicester.'
Principal Trish Stringer told the other students: 'These are a group of stunning young people who are incredibly positive role models for you and it just goes to show when you put your mind to something you can achieve fantastic results. They have done all of this alongside their studies and they are all going on to incredible opportunities at university.'
The Sixth Formers gained massive support from teaching staff at Brooke Weston, especially Miss Gonda. She said: 'They have learned team work, they learned it's from their heart and that giving is much better than receiving. They have learned that volunteer work for a charity that they know is also a lot of fun. It's rewarding and it's helped them grow. It gave them something to look forward to and strive for. They have shown what teenagers can do when they set their mind to it. These young people are going to be amazing members of the community when they finish here and they are leaving an fantastic legacy for other year groups to aspire to.'