Family and friends are stepping up their fundraising efforts to help a Sunderland teenager battling cancer travel to America for vital treatment.
Natalia Rooks was diagnosed with rare bone cancer, Ewing sarcoma, in May while preparing to sit her A-Level exams, which left her in too much pain to complete.
The 17-year-old has been undergoing chemotherapy at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Tumours were found in her pubic bone, pelvis and her lung and medics have said that four in 10 people can be cured of it.
St Anthony’s Sixth Form pupil Natalia, of Ford Estate, is now hoping to raise £6,000 to fly to Jacksonville, Florida, later this year where she will undergo proton beam radiotherapy which will reduce the size of the tumours and mean that she does not need major surgery.
The treatment will be part funded by the NHS, with money needed for travelling and living costs while her and some members of her family make the trip alongside her.
Natalia’s family and friends have been raising money through events such as charity football matches and a crowd fundraising page.
Dad James Rooks and mum Gaynor McKenzie, both 46, sisters Sophie Sullivan, 23, and Imogen Gonsalves, six, brother Curtis Rooks, 19, and step-brother Nathan Dodds are all supporting her in her fight.
Natalia’s mum Gaynor said: ”Since finding out about having to go to the US for treatment, everyone has been so supportive and fundraising so much, which we are really grateful for.
“The fundraising has been going great so far. The charity football match raised over £500, St Anthony’s sixth form raised over £300.
“We are looking forward to the future fundraisers, including wear yellow for Natalia at Revolution on July 19, a charity night this weekend and a basketball fun day on July 30 at City Space.”
Tomrrow afternoon, family and friends of Natalia will be taking part in a fancy dress sponsored walk from Pennywell to Seaburn and back.
Following this there will be a charity gig at the Victory Club, in Bridge Street, featuring various tribute acts, including an Elvis impersonater. AF Entertainment have also donated a disco for the event.
The event will start at 7.30pm and entry is £3.
For more on Natalia’s progress search for “Natalia’s fight against Ewings Sarcoma” on Facebook. To donate towards her fund-raising appeal go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nataliasbattleagainstewingssarcoma.