Charity on track to raise £500,000 for cancer research

Niamh Curry

A children’s charity set up in memory of a five-year-old Wellingborough girl who lost her battle to cancer is on target to raise £500,000 for research into the disease since its launch.

Wellingborough-based Niamh’s Next Step has announced the fundraising milestone to mark its fifth anniversary.

Niamh Curry passed away in May 2012 after battling a type of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma for 18 months.

In January 2013 her parents, Chris and Samantha, set up the organisation in her name and it has so far successfully raised more than £450,000. The money is used to fund research into the disease as well as supporting other families affected by the illness.

Around 100 children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year in the UK, of which only around 30 per cent will survive. There is currently no government or NHS funding into research of this type of cancer in the UK.

Chris, 45, said: “We have raised a phenomenal amount of money since this all began. Every year my wife Sam and I think it’ll be quieter this year and every time things go mad again.”

For the last five years the charity has joint-funded the UK’s annual levy to the European research network that carries out studies into neuroblastoma.

Research has also been funded in collaboration with Sparks, the children’s medical research charity at Brunel University, Uxbridge and the Institute of Cancer Research at Newcastle University.

Chris added: “Money has also been used to pay for wheelchairs and walking aids for children who have had neuroblastoma. We’re also well aware of the impact a diagnosis can make to family life – when your world is turned upside down, you still have a mortgage to pay and a car to insure and tax so we are here to offer practical advice to other families and we have helped out with mortgage payments and rental costs.”

A Gala Ball, held bi-annually, is the charity’s top fundraiser, bringing in between £40,000 and £50,000. The stand-out event over the last five years, which raised £25,000, was when world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua MBE visited Northampton on behalf of the charity.

Chris added: “The up-coming charity football match will top it all. My wife, Sam, has always wanted to hold an event like this, we wanted the time to be right and it’s all coming together. Alan Carr joked that Northampton isn’t going to know what’s hit it with himself and his good friend Katie Price coming to town.”

Already 2,000 tickets have been sold for the all-star game, taking place at Sixfields on Sunday, April 15. Tickets are just £10 for adults and £5 for children.

To book tickets click here