GENEROUS people in South Tyneside are getting in the Christmas spirit to help a terminally-ill youngster.
Glen’s Diamonds charity – set up by Glen Cunningham and his family before his tragic death at just 29 from a rare form of cancer last May – has sold all 200 tickets for a festive fundraiser in a matter of weeks.
The charity aims to honour his life by helping others in need in the borough.
The Christmas Eve Party, which is being held at the Armstrong Hall in Stanhope Road, South Shields, from 2.30pm to 4pm, is raising funds for 14-year-old Bamburgh School pupil Ewan Barry, who has scoliosis, which causes his spine to curve, cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease, which leaves people at risk of cardiac arrest, and a condition called Friedreich’s ataxia, which causes progressive damage to the nervous system.
The cash will buy Ewan, from Jarrow, a special chair to give him extra comfort, as he is wheelchair-bound.
His mother, Lisa Cowley, said: “We are so thankful for the support of Glen’s Diamond’s.
“They have been absolutely fantastic. The chair will be more comfortable for him and allow him to sit and watch TV and play.
“At the moment, he has to spend his day in his wheelchair or go lie on his bed for some comfort.
“The chairs are moulded to the person, and cost between £500 and £2,000.”
She added: “Ewan was diagnosed at the age of seven, and the last seven years have been so difficult for him. We have been told it is a terminal condition, and we should make the most of every day.”
Joanne Wilde, one of the Glen’s Diamond charity members and Glen’s aunt, said: “We had about 200 tickets for the Christmas Party, and they have all sold out already.
“We would like to thank everybody for their support.
“We also want to thank everyone who donated to the raffle, gave selection boxes and money.
“We’ve had great support from Shars Super Circuits in South Shields, the Visually Impaired Services team, the Adult Mental Health team, Kate’s Fitness and Slimming World in South Shields.
“The money raised will really help Ewan and we are also holding Santa’s Grotto events on Saturday and next Saturday at the Prince Edward pub, in Prince Edward Road, South Shields.
The Santa’s Grotto events, held from 11am until 2pm, will raise funds for Ewan and Kian Musgrove, a one-year-old who is undergoing cancer treatment.
Glen’s Diamonds is aiming to hold more fundraising events next year.
Father-of-two Mr Cunningham died after a rare form of cancer caused multiple brain tumours.
Health bosses had refused to pay for a £33,500 drug called Avastin, and good Samaritan Kenny Vickers, 34, from Cleadon Park, stumped up the cash.
Despite receiving two doses of the drug, it was unable to save Glen, and his loved ones are now running the charity to help others in a similar position.
Raffle prizes are still needed for the Christmas Eve party, and any unwanted Christmas gifts will also help future fundraising efforts.
To find out how to help, call Mrs Wilde on 0789 270 3710.