A north Northumberland community is rallying round a brave 21-year-old, who was diagnosed with cancer just as her pub decided to support a charity which helps young people with the disease.
Staff and customers at The Village Inn in Longframlington are holding a series of fund-raising events and challenges to raise money for CLIC Sargent, which is supporting one of their own – barmaid Becky Cole – through treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The 21-year-old, who lives in the village with her partner Jack, has just finished her sixth and final round of chemotherapy at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
Yesterday, she had her Hickman line (a central venous catheter used for chemotherapy) removed and she will be having scans in four weeks’ time, but for now she is concentrating on getting better and giving her body the chance to recover.
When Becky received her diagnosis in January and went to tell her boss, he told her they had already decided to support CLIC Sargent, which helps children and young people up to the age of 24 cope with cancer. “It was a strange coincidence, really weird,” she said.
Team Becky at The Village Inn has pledged to raise £10,000 for the charity and on Monday, team members are attempting a particularly gruelling challenge – a triathlon that will see them climb Ben Nevis, before canoeing 97km up the Caledonian Canal and cycling 117km back to the start, all within 48 hours.
Becky is in no doubt about the effort that has been going in ahead of the ‘triathlon’.
“They have been training every day, it’s been amazing,” she said. “I just hope the weather’s good!”
She also says the fact the fund-raising is for a charity which has supported her has made it much more special.
“It’s been good because when I have been well enough to help with it, that’s what I have been doing,” she added.
And Becky truly is grateful for the support that CLIC Sargent has provided, helping her to deal with the stress.
“They have been amazing, really amazing,” she said. “I had never really heard of them, but when my boss at the pub mentioned it, I looked into it more and decided to give them a call.”
Her CLIC Sargent social worker Joanne Tindall has been supporting the whole family throughout Becky’s treatment with emotional, as well as financial, support.
For example, she’s obtained grants for Becky, and successfully applied for disability benefits, housing benefit and council-tax reductions.
Becky said: “I really hope that people get behind Team Becky and help us support CLIC Sargent.
Speaking to Becky, one of the remarkable things is how positive she is, but she says that’s key. “It’s all you can do. I have never cried about it.
“The worst thing about it is the side effects of the chemo. Now it’s done, I’m excited to move on, get on with my life and hopefully I will go into remission.
“People have nothing to fear because the treatment these days is so good. The treatment I have had at the Freeman and the support from CLIC Sargent has been amazing.”
Team Becky @ The Village Inn has its own online fund-raising page – www.justgiving.com/teams/teambecky-thevillageinnfund – where you can make donations to support the work of CLIC Sargent.
For more information on the team’s fund-raising efforts and how they are progressing, check out the Team Becky at The Village Inn – Pub Charity 2015 page on Facebook.