Rebecca's brave battle - family thanks community for support

Rebecca, pictured on the right, with her family.
Rebecca, pictured on the right, with her family.
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The family of a Whitby girl with a rare form of cancer have expressed their sincere thanks to the community for their support.

Rebecca Sullivan, nine, was diagnosed in April with osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bones, which was found in her wrist.

Brave Rebecca Sullivan from Whitby.

Brave Rebecca Sullivan from Whitby.

The Airy Hill student has been receiving treatment at Leeds General Infirmary as she battles the illness. And her family have now launched a campaign in a bid to raise funds for the youngster to go on her dream holiday to Disneyland.

They have been overwhelmed by the community effort to help them through a difficult time. Her dad Paul Akeroyd said: “We are unbelievably grateful for the support. You realise when you live in Whitby how good the community spirit is.”

He added that despite the difficult treatment, Rebecca’s spirit has been remarkable: “We recently sent her into school for about an hour and she decided to stay all day.”

Mr Akeroyd reserved special praise for Airy Hill Community Primary School who have been extremely supportive throughout, including arranging for the full class to Skype Rebecca in hospital.

Rebecca after having her hair cut.

Rebecca after having her hair cut.

Next Friday, the school will be holding a fundraising day in aid of Rebecca’s battle. In a newsletter to parents headteacher Jim Lidgley said: “There will be music from local bands, refreshments (courtesy of Mallyan Spout Hotel), bouncy castle, tombola, ice creams, fun games, plus lots more. We are also having a Grand Draw – first prize is a night at the Raithwaite Hotel for two, plus lots of other great prizes.”

The list of prizes on offer includes: two family travel vouchers on the North York Moors Railway, four afternoon tea for two vouchers and a £29.95 voucher at Victorian Image, among many others.

There will also be a ‘Silent Auction’ for a Middlesbrough FC tour for two, an Arctic Monkeys signed drum skin and a Yorkshire Cricket Club signed shirt.

The day starts at 1.30pm and runs until 3.30pm. Donations are still being taken for the tombola.

Members of the community have also supported the effort to date. A Just Giving page set up by Justin Bray has raised more than £1,000: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/justin-bray-1.

Rebecca’s parents first realised something was wrong after she suffered a fall and felt pain in her wrist. Medical experts initially thought she had fractured her wrist and she had a pot on for six weeks. They were then sent to a clinic in Hull where the horrible news was delivered that she had a tumour in her wrist, which was later confirmed as osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma usually develops in growing bones. Although it can occur at any age, it’s most commonly found in teenagers and young adults. Primary bone cancers are cancers that start in the bone. They are rare, with only about 530 new cases each year in the UK.