100,000 thank you’s!

A fund-raising appeal to send a poorly four-year-old to America for essential treatment has smashed through the £100,000 barrier.

Sam Shaw was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in January and his parents, Christine and Carl, were told the best course of action was to take him for immunotherapy treatment in Philadelphia.

After launching an appeal to raise the £250,000 needed in March, the Hoddlesden couple said they had been overwhelmed by the support.

Christine and Carl, who live in Glencoe Avenue, said the total raised was probably closer to £120,000, with a lot of money still being collected.

Christine, PA to the headteacher at Chorley’s Albany High School, said the support for Sam and the appeal had been phenomenal.

She said: “We can’t thank people enough. It has been overwhelming.

“We try to get to as many events as possible but there are so many, it is incredible.

“Some things happen that we don’t even know about until the cheque drops through the door.

“Everybody in Darwen seems to be doing something for us.”

Carl, a transplant manager at Walkersteel in Blackburn, said: “I said at the start, ‘what do we do when we run out of events’ but it just hasn’t happened.

“We found ourselves in this position and we could never have imagined raising so much money.

“But the number of people, some of whom I have never even met, who have helped us is phenomenal.

“And it isn’t just about the money raised. People are putting themselves through really difficult challenges to help our Sam.”

A fund-raising dinner at Ewood Park on Thursday saw more than 200 people attend and an estimated £13,000 raised through raffles and auctions.

MC Paul Booth hosted and, opening the event, he said: “I was hoping to end tonight by saying we had broken the £100,000 barrier, but I won’t be able to.

“That is because ahead of tonight we had already smashed through it.”

The appeal was boosted by a donation of two signed Blackburn Rovers footballs, handed over by the Lancashire Telegraph.

The balls were sold at auction, raising more than £100.

Mr Shaw said: “We really appreciate the support of the Lancashire Telegraph all the way through our campaign.

“No-one would have heard of Sam had it not been for our local newspaper.”

The couple are hopeful that Sam, who is due to start at St Paul’s Primary School in the village next term, will be able to have the treatment in September.

Christine said it had been a strange experience after going public with the fund-raising appeal.

She said: “When he was first diagnosed we were quite insular.

“We are a very private family so we kept it quiet.

“Now Sam has become something of a celebrity, I guess the private side has gone out of the window.”

To donate to the Sam Shaw Appeal, visit www.justgiving.com/samshawappeal