Leeds mum of seven-year-old boy fighting leukaemia raising funds for cancer research

A mum from Leeds whose seven-year-old son suffers from leukaemia is raising funds for research into different forms of treatment after witnessing the debilitating effects of chemotherapy.

By Mark Lavery
Sunday, 22nd November 2020, 11:45 am
Thomas Hebbron with mum Gemma

Photo: James Hardisty
Thomas Hebbron with mum Gemma Photo: James Hardisty

Thomas Hebbron, from Roundhay, was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he was just five-years-old in February 2019.

His mum Gemma Hebbron, 37, has set up a fund with a leading children’s cancer charity to raise money for research.

She said: “I want to make a difference to other children because I have seen how debilitating it has been for him.

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Thomas Hebbron pictured in hospital

"At one point he couldn't walk. He has had to learn how to write again. There are so many things that he was once able to do that he now can't."

Gemma said while chemotherapy and steroid treatment has been effective, it has also been "really hard on Thomas's body."

She said: "It has caused heart problems, it has caused problems with his legs. He was in a wheelchair for a little while as his muscles were so weak."

Following Thomas's diagnosis, Gemma decided to “turn something awful into something positive” by setting up a Facebook page documenting Thomas’s journey and

Thomas Hebbron Photo: James Hardisty

informing and educating people on childhood cancer.

Now she has set up Thomas Fight TALL, a special named fund at Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) raising funds for research into finding kinder and more

effective treatments for childhood leukaemia.

Gemma said: “There are so many children diagnosed with it every year, and sadly, not all of those who get a diagnosis live to ‘ring the bell’ at the end of treatment.

Thomas Hebbron pictured in hospital

“And, for some of those who do survive, it’s difficult for them to live a normal lifestyle due to the horrific and often debilitating effects of chemotherapy.

“This needs to change. It’s come so far, but there’s much more to do.

“I hope that one day, all children who get leukaemia are not just cured, but free from the very difficult side effects of treatment like Thomas is experiencing.”

Gemma said Thomas Fight TALL is named so because that’s exactly what he’s doing - fighting T-Cell Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, or T-ALL.

She added: “Thomas, throughout all of this, has stood tall, held his head high and fought the whole way through.

“But the sad and cruel truth about all of this is that really he's had way too much to overcome.”

Since setting up the fund, Gemma has been raising money selling bespoke facemasks, tote bags, pin badges and keyrings, and holding online raffles.

Meanwhile, Thomas, who Gemma said is a “very loving little boy” who “wants to help others”, plans to do a bike ride.

Now, she is now appealing to people to help her hit her £1000 target by the year’s end.

She said: “If anyone has anything that we can add to the raffle, we’d love to hear from you.

Perhaps if you have a business, there’s maybe a gift voucher or something that you sell.

“Maybe you have somewhere you could put one of our collection tins or perhaps could do a sponsored event, as long as it’s safe?

“Or, if you can contribute any donations to his fund, as a one-off payment or a monthly direct

debit, that would be fantastic.”

To get involved with fundraising, contact Gemma via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ThomasFightTALL or e mail her at [email protected]