Drama group supporters aid tot’s life-saving appeal

Lorna and Mary Shephard, Rooth Hamilton, Suzanna and Abigail Hobbs and Jordan Thorpe, the singing group in the comedy Ruby, presented at Alfreton Wesley Church.
Lorna and Mary Shephard, Rooth Hamilton, Suzanna and Abigail Hobbs and Jordan Thorpe, the singing group in the comedy Ruby, presented at Alfreton Wesley Church.

A race against time to save a little boy’s life has received a £600 boost from drama buffs at an Alfreton church.

Family and friends of toddler Dawson Willcock are raising funds to send the two-year-old to America for treatment, after he was diagnosed with a very rare form of liver cancer, which has proved resistant to chemotherapy.

Now collections at the Alfreton Wesley Church’s summer comedy “Ruby” have brought in £606.

Producer David Hopkinson said: “We always choose a charity to support and when we heard about Dawson, we had no hesitation in offering our help.”

Dawson was diagnosed in January with hepatoblastoma, a liver cancer which affects one-in-a-million children.

It is the same cancer which pop star Michael Buble’s son Noah is recovering from after being diagnosed last year.

Dawson’s parents set up a fund-raising campaign in a bid to raise £500,000 to fly their son to Cincinnati for treatment from a top paediatric haematologist. So far £160,485 has been raised.

“When we heard the diagnosis, our worlds and our hearts literally blew apart. You never think your child is going to get cancer. It always happens to other people,” said Dawson’s mum Wendy.

“If there is someone who can save our son, then obviously we are going to go and fight to get there.”

Dawson’s parents have been told that the cancer has now spread to his lungs

“Time is not on our side – we need to have this money in a very short time,” said his mum.

Audiences at the Alfreton play were urged to be generous in their giving towards the fund. “The response was wonderful,” said David. “Dawson’s sad story obviously touched the hearts of a lot of people – collections were the largest we have ever had.”

The church’s drama group has been presenting plays for more than 27 years and thousands of pounds have been raised for good causes.

This year’s summer comedy was set in a summer holiday school, where a precious jewel went missing. The cast included six teenagers.