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Essex charity Tom Bowdidge Foundation raises £200,000 to help teens with cancer

PUBLISHED: 08:54 31 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:33 02 January 2018

Tom Bowdidge wanted to raise money to help teenagers suffering from cancer. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Tom Bowdidge wanted to raise money to help teenagers suffering from cancer. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Archant

A charity set up by an inspirational Essex teen who wanted to support young people suffering from the disease that would claim his life has raised more than £200,000 in a year.

The Tom Bowdidge  Foundation has donated £50,000 to Colchester General Hospital,  l-r, Caroline Bates, Nikki and Richard Bowdidge, Lesley Sheen.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN The Tom Bowdidge Foundation has donated £50,000 to Colchester General Hospital, l-r, Caroline Bates, Nikki and Richard Bowdidge, Lesley Sheen. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Tom Bowdidge Foundation, based in West Bergholt, Colchester, has contributed to cancer research, workshops, programmes and awarded £35,000 in individual grants to help teenagers in palliative care.

Tom was just 18 when he was diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive cancer and set out to help others, raising more than £170,000 for charity. In April 2013, he decided to start his own charity helping teenage cancer patients, leaving instructions for everyone to “crack on” after he died October 18, 2013.

On February 28, 2014, which would have been Tom’s 20th birthday, parents Nikki and Richard set up The Tom Bowdidge Foundation to continue their son’s charitable work,

The charity’s total donations of £212,000 this year have helped young people and their families, including with holidays, computers and clothes for young sufferers affected by weight loss.

Mrs Bowdidge said: “To be able to help these young people and their families, even in this small way, means so much.

“We really hope the grants have been of some help to them and their families. It is just one of the very important reasons why the foundation exists.”

The charity has donated £50,000 for a two-chair chemotherapy bay at Colchester Cancer Centre and £5,278 for a private room on an in-patient ward so parents or friends can stay overnight.

It has also spent £35,000 on a recreation room in University College London Hospital, where 19 to 25-year-olds can socialise and meet with a youth support worker.

More than £4,500 was also spent on three “Positive Steps Programme” workshops, helping young people to return to education or employment with courses covering CV writing, finance and interview skills.

Other donations include £82,000 to the Institute of Cancer Research to develop targeted treatments for teenagers with desmoplastic small round cell tumours and other sarcomas.

Mrs Bowdidge added: “We have had so much support over the last year and we wanted to let everyone know their money makes so much difference to so many people. We really cannot emphasise enough how without their help we wouldn’t be able to help all of these people, so thank you to you all.”

Visit the Tom Bowdidge Foundation website for information.

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