Sunderland workers’ wizard idea to help teenage cancer patient

Faye accepting a cheque from EDF Energy with mum Pam, dad Terry and sister Abigail
Faye accepting a cheque from EDF Energy with mum Pam, dad Terry and sister Abigail
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A teenager who is battling leukaemia is set to achieve her dreams of going to the Harry Potter studios thanks to a city call centre.

Faye Thompson, 14, has spent almost half her life fighting against acute lymphoblastic leukaemia after first being diagnosed with the disease when she was just eight.

EDF workers Emmanuel Asante-Akufo and Jenny Scholes with their collection bucket  to help Faye Thompson.

EDF workers Emmanuel Asante-Akufo and Jenny Scholes with their collection bucket to help Faye Thompson.

The East Herrington youngster underwent two-and-a-half-years of gruelling chemotherapy treatment and lived in remission for more than two years before relapsing last August.

It was a devastating blow for the family, but hope has come from sister Abigail, 23, who donated bone marrow to Faye in January to replace her damaged blood cells.

The St Robert of Newminster pupil is recovering from the procedure at home in semi-isolation, but is looking forward to travelling to the outskirts of London to visit the Warner Brothers Harry Potter studios after EDF Energy in Doxford Park raised more than £2,000 for the brave teen.

Mum Pam, who has worked at the centre for almost 20 years, said: “Faye’s been really touched by the fundraising, she couldn’t believe how much was raised. It’s a long recovery period from the transplant, but this has given her something to look forward to.”

Donna Thirlaway from EDF runs the cake stand as they raise funds to help Faye Thompson

Donna Thirlaway from EDF runs the cake stand as they raise funds to help Faye Thompson

Speaking about how Faye has coped with her illness, Pam said: “She deals with it all remarkably well. Because she’s had to live with it for almost half her life, she’s used to dealing with it.”

EDF staff had planned to raise enough money to buy Faye a keyboard, as music has helped to keep her occupied during her treatment, but they smashed that amount to raise £2,400, enough to send the family on a Harry Potter trip.

Staff held a fundraising day which encouraged colleagues to dress down for a small donation and a held bake sale, with a sky dive also planned for the cause.

Donna Thirlaway, team manager at EDF Energy and one of the fundraising organisers, said: “We wanted to bring a little bit of joy back to Faye’s life through the musical equipment. Music has really helped her through her treatment and she has shown a real talent for it.

Tracey Witte feeds a cake to fellow EDF employee Scott Barnes as they raise funds to help Faye Thompson.

Tracey Witte feeds a cake to fellow EDF employee Scott Barnes as they raise funds to help Faye Thompson.

“We are thrilled that we have already exceeded our expectations for the fundraising, and now we will also be able to send Faye on a lovely trip to Harry Potter World thanks to the generosity of everyone at EDF Energy Doxford and the local community. She doesn’t get the opportunity to do things that other teenagers do because of her treatment.”