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Students, teachers and doctors showed off their headwear to raise money for Dylan Williams (far right)

Children fundraise over £1,000 in support of friend

Pupils at Dame Allan's Junior School donned hats to raise the money for their friend Dylan Williams

Posted by Hannah Oakman | December 16, 2016 | School life

The Great North Children’s Hospital has said ‘hats off’ to children who raised over £1,000 following a fundraiser with a difference to support their friend.

Pupils and staff from Dame Allan’s Schools in Newcastle presented the North Great North Children’s Hospital with a cheque for £1,135.77 following a Wear a Hat Day in support of their Year 8 pupil Dylan Williams.

Dame Allan’s Junior School and Nursery, the Senior Schools and Sixth Form raised the money which will go to the Children’s Cancer Fund at the Great North Children’s Hospital, part of the Royal Victoria Infirmary, which is a specialist patient-centred hospital for children.

The Year 8 form at Dame Allan’s Schools arranged the day, which everyone from Nursery to Year 13, including staff, took part in to support Dylan who was undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 

In December 2015 Dylan, then 12 years old, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, after being admitted to the Children’s Hospital with difficulty breathing. Dylan underwent a tough chemotherapy and radiotherapy regime to treat the cancer, resulting in him losing his hair which was thick and curly. Dylan wore a hat at school to cover his hair loss, however he felt conspicuous, so his Form Tutor Dr Leese and his friends arranged a day for boys, girls and staff to wear a hat and raise money. 

We were really surprised by how much money we raised. It was a really fun day and there was a good reason behind it, to support our friend - Aaron Flack, one of Dylan’s friends

Aaron Flack, one of Dylan’s friends who helped to arrange the day sad: “We were really surprised by how much money we raised. It was a really fun day and there was a good reason behind it, to support our friend.”

Janet Price, Fundraising Manager for the North of England Children’s Cancer Research said: “The money that is donated to us makes a huge difference to children living with cancer. It means we are able to provide gifts, toys and equipment to celebrate milestones, the end of their treatment or to help distract them whilst they are undergoing therapy. 

“We also put on parties, for example one at New Year which Dylan went to last year. This money will do a great deal to support children at the Great North Children’s Hospital.”

Also at the presentation was Dylan’s consultant Dr Simon Bomken who has guided and supported Dylan and his family through the treatment, he has become a big part of Dylan’s life, and Dylan now describes him as a role model.

Dylan also raised £2,000 for the hospital earlier in the year through a JustGiving page after being admitted to hospital with an infection mid-way through his treatment. Dylan’s mum gave him the project of raising money to keep him occupied during his time in hospital and he was thrilled to raise so much, which will go towards supporting children of his age in the hospital who are too old for the play room and too young for the teenage room. 

No child should go through so much pain, but there the staff make your life better, they make you smile and feel protected. I want other sick children to continue to receive the same care I have enjoyed - Dylan Williams

Speaking of his experience at the Great North Children’s Hospital Dylan said: “The care I received on wards 4 and 14 was fantastic; no child should go through so much pain, but there the staff make your life better, they make you smile and feel protected. I want other sick children to continue to receive the same care I have enjoyed.” 

Dylan’s mum, Dr Manuela Williams praised both the hospital and Dame Allan’s Schools for their help during Dylan’s treatment and for the continued support now that he is in remission, she said: “The support given by both the hospital and Dame Allan’s has been brilliant. I never had to ask for any help, it was always offered. As a family we have benefitted from the holistic support provided by the hospital alongside Dylan’s treatment and they continue to look after us now, they know that the challenges don’t end once you are discharged.

“I have always known that Dame Allan’s has a strong pastoral ethos, but I never thought I would have to find that out to such an extent as a parent. The School Nurse has been a huge support and we had regular contact from the staff to check how Dylan was and to let us know that they were thinking of us which was really appreciated. Dame Allan’s was very flexible and the Wear a Hat Day gave Dylan a huge confidence boost.”

It was fantastic to see every pupil and member of staff showing support for Dylan and we are delighted to see that he has recovered so well - Dr Hind, Principal at Dame Allan’s Schools

Dr Hind, Principal at Dame Allan’s Schools said: “The Wear a Hat Day was arranged by Dylan’s form and their Form Tutor Dr Leese. It was fantastic to see every pupil and member of staff showing support for Dylan and we are delighted to see that he has recovered so well. Dame Allan’s has a strong pastoral and family ethos which has helped Dylan and his family through a very difficult time.”

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