Family of Bury St Edmunds boy Thomas Broughton who died aged four of rare brain tumour raise more than £100,000 in his memory towards new research project
The family of a Bury St Edmunds boy who died of a rare brain tumour have raised more than £100,000 to fund a new research study into the condition.
Thomas Broughton died aged four in November 2015 after being diagnosed with a low-grade glioma at the top of his spinal cord just before his second birthday in May 2013.
He received four different intensive chemotherapy treatments and his mum Nicky and dad Nat launched a fund at the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) charity five years ago to raise money to support research into kinder, more effective treatments for low-grade gliomas.
Thomas’ Fund was supported through various donations, challenges and events and generated more than £100,000 towards a new research project, launched a few days before what would have been his 10th birthday on Monday, June 7.
Led by Professor Darren Hargrave, at Great Ormond Street Hospital, the study will look at using genetic testing to develop tailored treatment plans for children with low-grade gliomas and improve survival rates.
Nicky said they were 'absolutely delighted' to fund the 'fantastic project' which was a 'great tribute to Thomas'.
“I think because Thomas really suffered from treatment, he had so many treatment complications and so many changes to his life, really, that actually this is a lovely tribute to him and will hopefully help children in the future," she said.
“I’m sure he’d be really proud of what we’re doing.”
Nicky expressed her gratitude for the wealth of support the fund received since being set up, and for making the new study possible.
We’re just really humbled by everyone’s love and support over the last few years - Nicky
She said: “We didn’t envisage raising anywhere near £100,000. We didn’t know what to expect when we first started the fund, we just thought we need to do this, to do something to help other children in Thomas’ memory.
“We set up with CCLG with an open mind, just thinking how much support will we get, let’s just see how we get on
“So, we’re really humbled that we’ve raised over £100,000, in a relatively short space of time.
“In individual terms, we’ve had loads of support from friends and family who have done everything from marathons, running and cycling challenges, cutting their hair, all sorts of things."
Nicky said they they had received support from companies including PwC, in Cambridge; Wayman & Long Solicitors, in Sudbury as well as Sainsbury's and Curve Motion, in Bury St Edmunds.
“We’re just really humbled by everyone’s love and support over the last few years," she said.
“To raise over £100,000, is really a credit to them.
“We couldn’t have done it without them, so we’d like to say thank you to everybody really, to CCLG and all our supporters.”
Dr Sarah Evans, CCLG research manager, said the project will enable a more individualised approach in the choice and timing of specific treatments for patients during the course of their illness.
“Going forward, this more detailed classification can help to support the development of new targeted therapies and lead to better outcomes for patients with low-grade gliomas," she said.
Covid-19 restrictions have made fund-raising more difficult over the past year, but as they are gradually being lifted, Nicky hopes to soon start raising even more money to eventually fund another study.
She added: “We’ve had a little step back over the last year, and are just hoping things will pick up over the coming months and we can get going again.
“We really want to keep going with it and would love to raise another £100,000 and get another project off the ground.”
To find out more about Thomas’ Fund, visit specialnamedfunds.cclg.org.uk/thomas-fund