Sunderland youngsters give up gifts for cancer donations

Celebrating their First Holy Communion and raising money for Cancer Research Marshall Steabler, left, with his nana Carol, Lennon Gettins, with his nana Karen McClumpha.
Celebrating their First Holy Communion and raising money for Cancer Research Marshall Steabler, left, with his nana Carol, Lennon Gettins, with his nana Karen McClumpha.
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Two Sunderland schoolboys who say they “don’t want people battling cancer to suffer” called on guests to donate to charity instead of buying them a gift to celebrate their Holy Communion.

Marshall Steabler and Lennon Gettins, both aged nine, both know first hand what it is like to see someone you love fighting the disease.

Both boys, who attend St Cuthbert’s Primary School in Sunderland, each have a grandmother who has been affected by cancer.

On Saturday, the youngsters’s families held a party following their Holy Communion at South Hylton Working Men’s Club.

Instead of gifts, both Lennon and Marshall, asked for donations to be made to charity. A raffle also took place during the celebration with items donated from a range of local businesses.

Both boy’s grandmothers were at the event.

Lennon’s grandmother Karen McClumpha who is in remission from breast cancer said: “I think it’s just so selfless what they are doing. Nearly all kids at their age want presents, I just think they are amazing.

“I’m just really proud of them.

“Lennon was only three when I was going through it all, it was the grandchildren that kept me going.

“I have never been as proud in all my life. It’s just brilliant.”

Carol Steabler, grandmother to Marshall who is currently battling lung cancer, said: “They are only bairns, so for them to do what they are doing it’s so nice.

“It just brings so many tears to my eyes. I’m over the moon with what people have donated.”

It is thought around £1,000 has been raised so far for Cancer Research and the Phoenix Unit based within Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Marshall said: “We knew we were having a party so we talked and said we wanted to raise money for cancer as we don’t want people to suffer.”

Lennon said: “It was both our ideas and we are doing it for our nanas. I carry on in the house, but when I told my mam what we wanted to do I felt more gown up.

“Thank you to everyone who has helped.”