Pupils ditch uniforms to aid cancer sufferers
5:30am Saturday 3rd May 2014 in By Elizabeth Mackley
TEENAGER Elisha Owen convinced Royal Wootton Bassett Academy to ditch their uniform yesterday to help raise money for a new breast cancer treatment.
The 16-year-old student’s mum, Tracey, was diagnosed with the disease earlier this year as Elisha began her final preparations for the GCSE exams she will take next month.
She said: “It was quite scary when mum was diagnosed and I didn’t really know what to do. I was going into lessons and then walking out because I was really upset.
“It just seemed so surreal. You just don’t think it’s ever going to happen to you.”
When she heard about the Great Western Hospital Trust’s charity, Brighter Futures, appeal to bring in a cutting-edge breast cancer treatment she was desperate to help.
The intra-operative radiotherapy treatment could cut out the tedious daily journeys to Oxford for traditional radiotherapy for 150 women a year since it is delivered directly to the affected spot while the patient is till in the operating room.
But the hospital needs to raise £75,000 for the treatment, and so Elisha approached deputy headteacher Anita Ellis and asked her if they could hold a non-uniform day to help the cause.
Elisha said: “I was talking to my mum and it was her idea, as she said I should suggest doing a non-uniform day to raise a bit of money for the treatment. So I went and spoke to Miss Ellis.
“I was overwhelmed when they said we could do it, and when I saw everybody come into school today dressed in pink and yellow. I am so grateful for everyone’es support.”
Elisha is not the only student at the Academy whose family has been affected by cancer.
Miss Ellis said: “There are a lot of personal family experiences of cancer and everybody has been affected in some way.
“This really has been a student-led initiative and we are making the GWH Breast Cancer appeal one of our local charities for this year.”
Student Eloise Lovesey recently had her head shaved in support of her mum, Hayley, who was diagnosed with grade three breast cancer last December.
The 12-year-old said: “I think it’s important to raise money for the appeal because it can help lots of people who have breast cancer and they won’t have to travel all the way to Oxford for radiotherapy.
“I didn’t know what to do when my mum was diagnosed.
“I think everyone has been really generous and supportive.”
l For more information about the GWH’s Breast Cancer appeal, or to find out how you can help, call 01793 605631, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.gwh.nhs.uk.