Vil­lagers raise £5,000 to help brave Jess beat Boris

Com­mu­nity pulls out all the stops on Dis­ney Day to fund young­ster’s can­cer treat­ment

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - For more pic­tures from the walk turn to pages 8 & 9 by Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­

THE Hare­field com­mu­nity came to­gether and raised thou­sands for an eight-year-old with a tu­mour named Boris, and all with a mag­i­cal Dis­ney twist.

Vil­lagers raised more than £5,000 at Jess’s Dis­ney Day, on Satur­day, with a 13-mile walk dressed in fairy­tale cos­tumes, fol­lowed by a quiz and disco.

Brave Jes­sica Shepherd, who’s can­cer has re­turned for a fourth time, cap­tured the hearts of her com­mu­nity, who hope to help pay for her treat­ment, should she need to un­dergo in­jec­tions in Amer­ica.

The young­ster is cur­rently re­ceiv­ing chemo­ther­apy at Great Or­mond Street Hospi­tal for her tu­mour, which she nick­named ‘Bor­ing Boris’, and may need £120,000 fol­low up in­jec­tions in the US.

The Dis­ney Day was launched by the newly-ap­pointed Mayor of Hilling­don, Cllr John Hens­ley, and the May­oress, his wife Diane at 10am.

Co-or­gan­iser, Teresa King, a fam­ily friend and fel­low Hare­field res­i­dent, said: “The turnout was amaz­ing, it couldn’t have been bet­ter.

“We had 150 peo­ple do­ing the walk and around 250 peo­ple came out for the whole day. It was su­perb and over­whelm­ing.

“Jess came out and looked stun­ning – she had a beau­ti­ful Cin­derella dress on and al­though she was tired, she found some en­ergy and was bounc­ing around. She was amaz­ing.

“The Mayor and May­oress came up to meet us and started the walk for us and off we all went!”

Among the cos­tumes were Ariel, Ra­pun­zel, Jack Spar­row and Belle on the walk, which took six hours to com­plete.

Ms King added: “In the evening, chil­dren were in­vited to the quiz and then we had an adult’s only disco af­ter­wards.

“There is a video ren­di­tion of Let It Go from Frozen. It was amaz­ing and there was also a lot of tears shed.”

Jess’s fam­ily were ‘awestruck’ at the re­sponse to the event, and say Hare­field has done her proud.

Her nan, who does not wish to be named, said: “The whole vil­lage was there, it was bril­liant – they seem to be pulling out all the stops for her.

“She’s had her first cy­cle of treat­ment in her trial, with nasty side ef­fects, and she’s re­cov­er­ing slowly.

“But she was a princess for the day and we’re hop­ing she’ll be able to go to the foot­ball event as well, fin­gers crossed. She re­ally en­joyed her­self.”

Jess, who can only walk for a while be­fore she gets tired, took time out of treat­ment to wave off the walk­ers and cheer them on, and even had a trac­tor ride.

Her nan added: “Peo­ple from the vil­lage, even if they’ve moved out, are com­ing back for these events and all her teach­ers sup­ported it.”

Jess was first di­ag­nosed with a rare form of child­hood can­cer, neu­rob­las­toma, aged just three years old, and named her tu­mour Bor­ing Boris, when it kept re­turn­ing as it: “won’t go away and keeps com­ing back”.

The jokey name led to the Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip MP, Boris John­son, send­ing her a spe­cial mes­sage. The pair met and Boris posed for a pic­ture with Jess while she hit him over the head with a blow up ham­mer, in ref­er­ence to the their slo­gan ‘Help Jess Beat Boris’. Jess’s nan said: “She had great fun hit­ting him with the blow up ham­mer!

“He was so nice to her, re­gard­less of any­one’s pol­i­tics, he was a re­ally nice man. Jess re­ally liked him and he’s writ­ten to her since, to check on her progress, so it wasn’t just a one­off.”

The next fundrais­ing event will be Jess’s Fan­tasy Foot­ball match this Satur­day which will see Hare­fiel­dians take on Row­lands Le­gends, a team of ex-pro­fes­sional foot­ballers.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the events and to do­nate, visit:

n SU­PERB DAY: Walk­ers in cos­tumes raised money for Jess Shepherd and right, ‘beat­ing’ Boris John­son

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