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Almost at the £100,000 milestone – incredible fundraising for Childhood Cancer Research, in memory of Joseph Thomas Sinton

After tragically losing her son Joseph Thomas Sinton to cancer, Tracy Sinton began fundraising for the Future Fund, set up initially to create a state-of-the-art centre for research into childhood cancer. Discover how she created a legacy for Joseph.

“Our beautiful little boy, Joseph, was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in December 2010 following a two week history of headaches and vomiting. Life as we knew it ended. Joseph underwent gruelling treatment including several visits to theatre, six weeks of daily radiotherapy and four cycles of intense chemotherapy with stem cell replacement, finishing his treatment in July 2011.

“End of treatment scans showed Joseph to be free of cancer and we tried to get back to living life as 'normally' as we could. It was always at the back of our minds that Joseph could develop further health problems as a result of his treatment, our worst fear though was that his cancer could return.

“Joseph was scanned regularly and his scan in February 2013 was clear. He had started on daily growth hormone injections and was growing well. His thyroid gland had also been affected by the treatment and he was started on a daily dose of Thyroxine.

“The day after he began his new medication, Joseph vomited. We put that down to the tablets. A few days later, he vomited again, we put that down to something he'd eaten. Over the next few weeks we became increasingly concerned by occasional vomiting and headaches so took Joseph back to see his consultant. All of his observations were fine. The next day, Joseph collapsed at home. He was admitted to hospital and an MRI scan confirmed our worst fears, not only had Joseph's cancer returned, it had spread into his brain and around his spinal cord, there was no cure.

“We were given the heart-breaking decision to make - do nothing and let the tumour take over our little boy, or give oral chemo which meant we could be at home together as a family or visiting hospital for five days at a time for IV chemo.

“We couldn't just do nothing. Joseph was started on a course of oral chemotherapy to try to keep the tumour at bay for as long as possible and to enable us to spend as much quality family time together as we could.

“He fought his battle with such bravery and always with a smile on his face, showing immense courage for someone so young. Each day we were given was a blessing but Joseph gradually became immobile, robbed of his childhood and ultimately of his life which he had battled so hard to hold on to. Joseph died peacefully at home on 27 February 2014. He had just turned 10 years old.

“Our beautiful little boy has made us incredibly proud. He touched the hearts of everyone he met with his huge personality, strength, courage, humour and determination. He continues to be our inspiration and our strength to carry on.

“In memory of Joseph, we have decided to raise much needed funds for Childhood Cancer Research and have chosen the Future Fund, a collaboration between Newcastle University, the Great North Children's Hospital who took such fantastic care of Joseph and North East Children's Cancer Research (NECCR), to support.  Tracy Sinton, Just Giving.

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We interviewed Tracy about her journey with Future Fund and her overwhelming success in fundraising.

Why did you chose Future Fund and Childhood Cancer Research at Newcastle University?

"Robert and I chose to get involved with the Future Fund and Childhood Cancer Research at Newcastle University in memory of Joseph, to keep Joseph's memory alive and to try to prevent other families from knowing the heartache of losing their child to cancer.

"The Future Fund was launched shortly after we lost Joseph and we felt by supporting it, we were giving a little back to the RVI Children's Oncology department and their incredible staff who took such special care of Joseph throughout his illness."

What type of fundraising activities have you done to raise the money?

"We have held five annual fundraising evenings in memory of Joseph with raffles, auctions and tombolas. Throughout the year we also hold Bonus Ball draws and we have a tuck shop at work (for the staff of North East Ambulance Service) which I run and all of the profits go to the Future Fund too.

"I also managed to get a few schools to 'Go Gold' in September to raise money for Childhood Cancer Awareness month."

Did you ever think your fundraising would be that successful?

"We certainly could never have imagined our fundraising efforts to be so successful but we are incredibly fortunate to have such incredible support from friends, family and work colleagues who have all taken Joseph into their hearts.

"We have also had amazing support from local and national businesses donating raffle and auction prizes, without whom, we would never have raised such a fantastic amount. We truly can't thank them enough for all of their support in helping to keep Joseph's memory alive and raising money for such a fantastic cause."

What does being involved with the Future Fund and Newcastle University mean to you?

"It is important to us to be involved with the Future Fund to help bring forward the day when all children can have a future free from cancer. Research is desperately needed to find kinder treatments for children's cancers and we feel that by supporting a world class, dedicated research centre right here in our region, we are giving a little back and hopefully helping to allow new treatments to be found which mean other families will never know the heartache of hearing the words 'there's nothing more we can do'."

What would be your message to others that are considering donating?

"For anyone wondering if they should donate, please allow yourself to imagine, even for just one moment, how you would feel if you were to be told your child had cancer. Now imagine being told there was to be no cure. We never imagined that it would happen to our beautiful, intelligent, healthy and very much loved son, but it did. Cancer does not discriminate, it could be your child."

Newcastle University would like to congratulate and whole-heartedly thank Tracy Sinton for her dedication to support Childhood Cancer Research at Newcastle University. Her tireless work has raised almost £100,000, which supported the initial building of the new state-of-the-art Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre and the subsequent medical trials carried out there.

If you’d like to support Childhood Cancer Research at Newcastle University, in memory of Joseph Thomas Sinton whom sadly passed away, you can do so here

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published on: 11 March 2020