Mum of Bradley Lowery makes emotional plea to the next Prime Minister
The mother of Sunderland football club super fan Bradley Lowery has recorded an emotional message to the incoming Prime Minister.
Gemma Lowery, chief executive of the Bradley Lowery Foundation, has backed the CLIC Sargent call to all party leaders to commit to a Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund if enter 10 Downing Street.
CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, says a fund would help families struggling with the huge costs of travelling to hospital - something Gemma and her family experienced during Bradley’s cancer treatment.
In the last 12 months, it estimates that around 4,450 young cancer patients and their families nationwide have together spent around £5 million simply travelling to treatment.
Bradley, of Blackhall Rocks, was just 18 months old when he was diagnosed with the rare cancer neuroblastoma in January 2013.
His bravery garnered international attention as he became club mascot for Sunderland AFC and formed a strong bond with the club’s then striker Jermain Defoe.
After he sadly passed away aged six in July 2017, Gemma set up the Bradley Lowery Foundation in his memory.
The foundation aims to support families who are fundraising for treatment or equipment, which is not readily available or covered by the NHS.
It also supports research into neuroblastoma and childhood cancers.
Gemma reveals in a new video how her family’s finances took a huge hit when Bradley was diagnosed with cancer.
The family had to make frequent trips from home to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), in Newcastle, a 60-mile return trip.
She says: “My anxiety and my husband’s anxiety was through the roof because sometimes we didn’t know how we were going to pay the mortgage at the end of the month.
“I fundraised for treatment for Bradley, but not once did I take any money for cost of living. I got in a lot of debt and I got in a lot of arrears. The stress it causes is not acceptable.”
Speaking about families who are paying hundreds or thousands of pounds a year to take their child to hospital for treatment, Gemma says: “These families are struggling on a day-to-day basis to be able to get their child to hospital for essential treatment to save their lives…These families need a travel fund now.”
CLIC Sargent estimates that families spend at least £180 on petrol a month as well as an average of another £600 over a similar period on associated bills such as food, hospital car parking, energy bills and car-related costs.
Chief executive Kate Lee said: “Families are facing countless journeys to and from the hospital for treatment, often stretching over years.
“They are at breaking point, scraping together pennies, borrowing money from family and friends, relying on charitable grants.
“We're asking all party leaders to listen to young cancer patients and their families and commit to a Young Cancer Patient Travel Fund if they become the next Prime Minister.”
Further information about the plea is available at https://www.clicsargent.org.uk/join-our-fight/get-campaigning/travel-fund/