Hornchurch mum who lost daughter to cancer raises thousands for boy, 3, battling leukaemia

Niko and family

The cheque was handed over to Niko and his family on July 7 - Credit: Katie Bolke-Carver

A Hornchurch mother who lost her daughter to breast cancer has raised thousands of pounds so a Rainham three-year-old with leukaemia can go on holiday.  

Kim Brandon, whose daughter Sammy Jo passed away four years ago, said she “hated the thought of children going through what she went through”.  

The Sammy Jo Brandon Foundation was created by Sammy's cousin Robyn Joynes, her mum Kim and other family members and has so far raised more than £200,000 for Children with Cancer UK.

Sammy Jo died aged 29 on May 14 in 2018. 

A charity golf day organised by Ricky Smith at Jerram Falkus Construction and the Sammy Jo Brandon Foundation was held at Hainault Golf Club in May. 

The event, which raised £2,500, was in aid of three-year-old Niko, who has a link to Kim as her niece’s partner’s Godson.

Niko's mum, Katie Bolke-Carver, 32, spoke to this newspaper in March about the “magnificent” support he has received since his leukaemia diagnosis in February.

The amount raised has now been converted into Centre Parcs vouchers.  

Most Read

Kim said: “We’ve given Niko Centre Parcs vouchers so when he’s well enough, him and all the family can go have one, maybe two holidays there. 

“It means so much to us to be able to donate this to the family.  

“It’s all in my daughter’s memory and I know she will be sitting up there absolutely buzzing with it all."

Sammy Jo was 26 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Kim said her daughter wanted children but did not get the chance to have any.  

Kim said the loss of her daughter has made her focus on helping to save other children.  

Katie Bolke-Carver

Niko attended as a mascot at a football tournament and family fun day organised by the Sammy Jo Brandon Foundation on Sunday, July 10 - Credit: Katie Bolke-Carver

Katie, who will be moving to Colchester at the end of the week with her family, said Niko is back on “really intense" chemotherapy again and has “really good and really bad days”.

She said the fundraising event was “heartwarming”: “We’re really grateful for the fact they thought of us, and have given us an opportunity to have a really nice family holiday and spend some quality time together.”  

A football tournament and family fun day organised by Sammy Jo's partner, Jack Gifford, was also held on July 10, and saw Niko attend as a mascot for the day.  

Kim Brandon

Niko with Jack Gifford - Credit: Kim Brandon

Follow Niko's journey via Katie’s Instagram page @ourlifewithleukemia

The Sammy Jo Brandon Foundation can be found on Instagram @sammyjobrandonfoundation.