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
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: https://www.gofundme.com/h6svcqt8
n SUPERB DAY: Walkers in costumes raised money for Jess Shepherd and right, ‘beating’ Boris Johnson