Joni-Mai, dad Kevin, mum Holly and sister Daisy. Picture: Rachel O'Rourke

‘She could play like any other child’: Family praises charity do for Hornchurch cancer girl Joni-Mai

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
2.23 PM

A one-day charity event has raised more than £5,000 for Joni-Mai Stevens - the seven-year-old girl from Hornchurch who needs treatment for a rare bone cancer.

The 300-strong attendees of the family fun day at Scrattons Farm, Barking, were treated to music from Cameron Fellows and Jack Botterill, as well as top Essex bands Charlie’s Aunt and Short Stories - all of whom donated their fee to the cause.

People gave cash to wax the hair from the chests of a few brave men, and children played on bouncy castles, teacups and a rodeo bull - also offered for free.

More than £300 was made from ticket sales alone, and £600 was raised from sales of “Joni’s Army” T-shirts.

Raffle prizes included accommodation in Las Vegas and tickets to a West End show.

Joni-Mai’s grandmother, Trish Walsh, said: “The whole day was wonderful, and Joni and her little sister Daisy had the rare opportunity to play like any other child.

“The turn out and the love we all received at the Scrattons Club will remain with us for a very, very long time.”

The event, organised by John Lille, of Becontree, a family friend of Joni-Mai, and Scrattons Farm management, raised £5,400 in total.

Joni-Mai was first diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma in 2011. She went into remission but the cancer returned last year.

Treatment for the disease is limited on the NHS. The family now hopes to raise the more than £100,000 needed for Joni to be treated in America.

The family has set-up a website for those who wish to donate: joni-mai.co.uk