Cancer charity sees £70k drop in income - but has 1,333% rise in demand for grants

Nikki Bowdidge with her son Tom, who died in 2013 after battling a rare form of cancer Picture: TOM

Nikki Bowdidge with her son Tom, who died in 2013 after battling a rare form of cancer Picture: TOM BOWDIDGE YOUTH CANCER FOUNDATION - Credit: TOM BOWDIDGE YOUTH CANCER FOUNDATION

A cancer charity for young people set up in memory of a tragic 19-year-old has seen a 1,000% rise in demand for grants - despite losing £70,000 in income since Covid-19.

The Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation was set up by Richard and Nikki Bowdidge following the death of their son Tom in 2013.

Tom, who was 19, had developed a rare and aggressive form of soft tissue sarcoma in his peritoneum and pelvis a year earlier.

His parents have since devoted their time and money to helping fellow young people and their families – including those struggling with their mental health while their treatment continues.

As a result of coronavirus, the foundation has seen grant applications rise by 1,333% - while its income has been slashed by an estimated £70,000.

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It has provided money for laptops, household bills and transport to and from hospital to 60 youngsters and their families since April.

Richard Bowdidge, founder of the charity, said it has also helped some families with 100-mile round trips to hospital.

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“Cancer doesn’t stop for anything, not even coronavirus,” he said.

“Young cancer patients on palliative care have also struggled to make memories because their last few months have been stuck at home.

“We have managed to send a mother and her son for a few days in Wales between treatment but his prognosis is very poor.

“We have given laptops, iPads and phones to keep them connected with friends and support groups.

“Some have wanted to do courses to give them a future to think about. One young girl won’t talk and uses her iPad to converse with the medical team.

“It is such a desperate time for so many youngsters with cancer. Families are stretched to the limit and we have been helping in any way we can while facing a loss in income.

“A small gift from our amazing supporters makes a significant difference to us and those we help.”

The charity has launched an Individual Giving Campaign in the hopes of raising vital funds as a result of the crisis – which also saw its popular West Bergholt Easter Bunny Hunt event cancelled.

Donations can be made here.

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