Harold Hill boy wants donations to be made to brain tumour charity for his birthday in memory of Collier Row friend
PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 October 2018
An 11-year-old boy is sacrificing his birthday presents this year and chopping his long locks to help fundraise for research into a disease that killed his friend.
Leon Claridge, from Harold Hill, says all he wants for his upcoming 12th birthday is to raise money in memory of his friend Alex Field, from Collier Row, who was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in 2010.
He died just 14 months later when he was eight-years-old.
Leon is now asking for people to donate to the charity Brain Tumour Research instead of buying him gifts.
To mark the occasion, Leon will also be cutting 13in off his hair which he has been growing for the past two years to raise even more money for the worthy cause.
Mum Jodie said: “Leon always looked up to Alex and he took it really hard when he died.
“It’s touching that he wants to keep Alex’s memory alive and do something positive in his name.
“It shocks me that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically only 1pc of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
“No parent should have to see their child go through what Alex did.”
Leon, who goes to Drapers’ Academy, Settle Road, Harold Hill, is hoping to raise further awareness of brain tumours and help to prevent other people from suffering with the disease through his nearest charity shop.
The money raised will help Brain Tumour Research to fund dedicated UK Research Centres of Excellence while also influencing the government and larger cancer charities to invest more nationally.
Community fundraising manager at Brain Tumour Research Janice Wright said: “Not many children would forgo birthday presents to fundraise for charity so it’s heart-warming that Leon is doing in memory of his friend.
“We’re extremely grateful for his support and we hope that others will be inspired by his story.”
To sponsor Leon, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/leon-claridge