Vil­lage ral­lies to sup­port young Jess’s Dis­ney Day

Race and events will raise cash for can­cer treat­ment in US to help tackle ‘bor­ing Boris’

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

AN IN­SPI­RA­TIONAL eight-year-old girl, who has named her tu­mour ‘bor­ing Boris’, needs £120,000 for can­cer treat­ment in Amer­ica.

Jes­sica Shep­herd, from Hare­field, has cap­tured the hearts of her com­mu­nity, who hope to help raise the sum with a spe­cial fundraiser called Jess’s Dis­ney Day.

Jess was di­ag­nosed with a rare form of child­hood can­cer, neu­rob­las­toma, aged just three years old, and then went into re­mis­sion spon­ta­neously.

When the can­cer re­turned at the end of 2013, Jess named her tu­mour Bor­ing Boris be­cause ‘it kept com­ing back’.

The brave young­ster un­der­went chemo­ther­apy, surgery, ra­dio­ther­apy and retinoic acid, for a whole year so her fam­ily thought she had gone into re­mis­sion.

Un­for­tu­nately, ‘Boris’ had with­stood all the treat­ment and came back in Fe­bru­ary 2015 so Jess recom­menced her treat­ment.

Now, with the re­turn of her can­cer for a fourth time, al­though Jess has been ac­cepted at the Royal Mars­den Hos­pi­tal for trial treat­ment, doc­tors have told her that when she is in re­mis­sion, she will have to go to the United States for fol­low up in­jec­tions – cost­ing a stag­ger­ing £120,000.

Jess’s story struck a chord with fam­ily friend and fel­low Hare­field res­i­dent Teresa King, who hopes to raise money through races and events on the Dis­ney Day.

She said: “She’s just an amaz­ing child, she’s eight now and has been through five years of hell, she’s just pulled out the other end and kept go­ing. I wanted to do what I could for her, so we just put our heads to­gether and thought we would try this.”

Teresa sadly lost her brother, Stephen, aged 10 – af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with neu­rob­las­toma aged three and a half.

The 27-year-old said: “I wanted to get in­volved as I couldn’t see an­other child go through what my brother went through. I know the vil­lage are help­ing as much as they can – they were so good to us and I want to give back to them too.”

The Mayor of Lon­don Boris John­son MP, af­ter whom the tu­mour was named in a tongue in cheek fash­ion, said: “Jes­sica has shown tremen­dous courage in her bat­tle against can­cer and I hope peo­ple will sup­port this fan­tas­tic fundrais­ing ef­fort.”

Jess’s nan ex­plained how the name ‘Boris’ came to light.

She said: “We just went through names and it was what made her laugh. We’d love to get a pic­ture of Jess hit­ting him with a blow-up club as our hash­tag is #HelpJessBeatBoris.”

Jess’s nan thinks Boris John­son is “amaz­ing” and that his mes­sage will “make her day”.

She con­tin­ued: “Peo­ple could take it (the tu­mour name) wrong and I’m so pleased he hasn’t, it’ll make her day.

“I’ll show Jess pho­tos of him so she knows who he is and I’ll tell her he thinks she’s ex­tremely coura­geous.”

The fam­ily also want to thank the “ab­so­lutely amaz­ing” med­i­cal teams at Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal and Great Or­mond Street.

De­scrib­ing Jess, her nan said she is also “ab­so­lutely amaz­ing”.

She added: “This time she’s a bit older and re­ally didn’t want Boris back and found it hard when she was told that but within two days she was back to her pos­i­tive self.

“So long as she knows what’s go­ing to hap­pen to her, she just goes and gives it her all.”

As well as the Dis­ney Day, Hare­field Ju­niors School, where Jess at­tends, will be hold­ing a ‘Dress for Jess’ day where chil­dren can come to school dressed in pink.

Jess’s Dis­ney Day will be from 10am-4pm on Satur­day, May 21.

En­try to a quiz and disco at The Hare­field, High Street at 6.30pm on the day is £5 per per­son.

If you’d like to sup­port Teresa’s fundrais­ing ef­forts, visit: https://www. gofundme.com/h6svcqt8 or get in touch with her on tessk­ing88@gmail. com

n BRAVE AND

HU­MOR­OUS: Eight-year-old Jess from Hare­field is

bat­tling can­cer for the fourth time

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