Claire Grady Lennon, one of the ladies we helped raise funds for through our charity of choice, Help Us Help Others (HUHO), is a mum of three small children battling stage 4 melanoma cancer. She was diagnosed at the age of 25 after finding an abnormal mole on her knee. After 10 years of fighting, numerous treatments and a lot of will, she is still no closer to a cure.
In fact, she was recently told the cancer had spread to her ovaries, pelvis, groin, breast tissue and brain. There is now no more the NHS can do for her. This heart-breaking news came with a terrifying prognosis that she has around a year to live. This hit her and her family very hard.
Despite this, she refuses to give up. She manages her pain and daily treatment using approved cannabis oil, a recently legalised treatment for certain illnesses. This costs her around £700 a month but has been extremely successful for Claire so far. It has helped to reduce the size of dangerous tumours in her Oesophagus and educed the pain she was in. So she can lead a relatively normal life.
She was offered chemotherapy treatment by the NHS but declined. That’s because there were no real guarantees as to how successful the treatment would be, if at all. Claire was adamant she didn’t want to put herself or her family through it.
“I am terrified of the future. I can’t leave my kids without a mummy. This really is destroying my family.”
She said: “If they’d have said it would have been 50/60% successful, no doubt I’d have taken it. But with less than 10% success for my type of cancer, it didn’t seem worth it.”
“I’d lose all of my hair and because of how aggressive the treatment is, I’d be very poorly. At least how I am now is recognisable for my kids. That’s my priority. If I’ve got a year left, I don’t want my kids to remember me in that way.”
Hope for A Brighter Future
After a lot of researching, Claire found out that she can have gamma-knife therapy. This is not available on the NHS as it is too costly, but Claire has found two hospitals in America that can help, and they have amazing success results.
The only problem is how expensive the treatment is. Prices for simple things like X-Rays and injections can be around £5000, let alone the actual treatment. Claire estimated that in order to even consider the treatment as an option, she would need to raise funds in excess of £100,000.
Lots of other local charities and people from the local community have all rallied round to help Claire raise the funds she needed. And we’re no different.
How We’ve Helped
In May, our charity of choice, HUHO approached us for our support in running their annual Purslow Memorial Football Tournament. This is a chance to raise vital funds for local people that require facilities, equipment, services or funding that is not normally provided by the authorities. They do this in memory of late Tamworth lady, Anne-Marie Purslow who sadly lost her battle with cancer in September 2018 at the age of just 36.
This year, the charity had committed to splitting the funds raised on the day between Claire and 5 year-old Sofia Gardella. The money raised would then go towards helping Claire get to America and improve her chances of survival.
A Step Further
Pure Cloud Solution’s Co-Owner’s Darren and Martin Lake are board trustees for HUHO. They were determined to help HUHO raise more money than ever before for Claire and Sofia. They aimed to double what PCS helped HUHO to achieve last year for Anne-Marie.
But there’s more. PCS helped to secure pitch sponsorship for the HUHO Purslow Memorial Tournament as well as volunteering with the delivery of the day. PCS members of staff gave up their time and effort to promote the tournament online to get people there, obtained raffle and auction prizes and even helped on the day to run stalls.
This year we went one step further too. Our marketing team volunteered to create a professional looking program for the day free of charge. And PCS also paid for the venue as way of donation to HUHO. This meant as much of the money raised on the day could go to directly to Claire and Sofia.
The tournament was a huge success with 20 teams from the local community participating in what was a competitive day of football. The local community came out in force too> There were around 300 attendees throughout the day all giving generously to support our charity of choice, Claire and Sofia.
From sponsorship, team entry, donations, the raffle and the auction, HUHO managed to raise a huge £8400 pounds for both Claire and Sofia. Money that goes a long way to making a difference to the lives of these incredible women.
As a thank you for PCS’ help in the run-up to the tournament and on the day, members of HUHO asked if PCS could surprise Claire with her cheque. Jamie Lake, our Commercial Director and Marketing Lead Charlotte Batey were delighted to deliver the cheque for £4200 to Claire at her home a few weeks ago.
“Meeting Claire and hearing all about her journey was a really humbling experience. She is in a horrible situation with a young family to think of and I can honestly say the fight and determination she has to beat her cancer is truly inspiring and really does put things into perspective.
From a personal view, if Claire’s treatment in America works and it can help extend her life in any way possible then I will be extremely proud to know that we played a small part in achieving that.”
Jamie Lake- PCS Commercial Director
Whilst there, Claire went into detail about her upcoming trip to America. Here she would be meeting consultants who could potentially help her. She spoke of the cost, the differences in the way they treat patients and the treatment she is hoping to receive.
Claire was overwhelmed by the money that had been raised by HUHO, PCS and the Tamworth community. Once we’d left, Claire sent a message that said, “I burst into tears after you left. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. I’m just glad I kept myself composed for the pictures!”
Since New York, New York …
As a company, we were moved by Claire’s story and courage, keen to keep up with her progress. We got in touch with Claire when she returned from America to get the verdict. She now has a plan in place that she is praying will work. If it works for her, Claire could be granted another 10 years with her young family.
Claire said: “That’s huge for me. You know, with 10 more years, my boys will be 14. At least then they’d remember me. If I go this year, I’m scared they won’t at all.”
“It will mean I can be there for my little girl as she becomes an adult. Through her teens. Through boys, through exams and through friendships. Stuff you need your Mum for.”
“And you never know what can happen in 10 years. With the way technology advances, there may finally be a cure to rid me of this horrible cancer.”
She has been referred to a private clinic in London for treatment that could help. Although she could have been treated in New York, it would be very costly and not ideal distance-wise for the kids.
“The drugs that I will be taking are not 100% guaranteed to work, but I have got to try and the doctor seems very positive. The good news is, they can’t believe how well I am doing considering I have so much of the disease in my body.”
There’s a long road ahead, and nothing is a given. But with Claire’s fierce determination to fight right until the very end for herself, her family and her children, anything is possible. For now, at least, Claire and her family have hope. Hope that she can get better. Hope for tomorrow. And hope for the future.
Don’t give up Claire, we’re all right behind you, cheering you on every step of the way!