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Firefighters raise thousands for toddler battling cancer in city centre ladder climb

PUBLISHED: 14:24 17 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:06 17 February 2019

Harry and his parents (centre) with the fire crew from North Earlham fire station, who are doing a non-stop charity climb for the Harry appeal. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Harry and his parents (centre) with the fire crew from North Earlham fire station, who are doing a non-stop charity climb for the Harry appeal. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Archant

Firefighters have helped raise more than £5,000 for a toddler who is fighting cancer and needs life-saving treatment in the USA.

Harry Deeba, from Taverham, has been diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system that started in his kidney about a year ago. The two-year-old has been receiving treatment since.

But half of patients with the disease relapse, which leads to a one in 10 survival rate, and his family hope to take him to New York for a trial which could lower the chances of the cancer returning.

After meeting Harry at their station, firefighters in north Earlham “fell in love” with Harry.

As soon as they heard he needed to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for treatment in America, they decided to get behind the effort.

The fire crew from North Earlham fire station are doing a non-stop charity climb for the Harry appeal. Picture: Ella WilkinsonThe fire crew from North Earlham fire station are doing a non-stop charity climb for the Harry appeal. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

From 9am on Saturday morning crews parked an aerial ladder platform outside Westlegate Tesco and took on a 24 hour climbing challenge.

Red watch manager at north Earlham fire station, Ryon Martin, said: “His mum got in contact with the fire service saying they wanted to come out and visit the station and at least just see a fire engine if possible.

“He came down and spent half a day with us and had a go on the fire engine spraying some water about, and he won us all over really.

“He loved every minute of it, and from that point we were on board.

The fire crew from North Earlham fire station are doing a non-stop charity climb for the Harry appeal. Picture: Ella WilkinsonThe fire crew from North Earlham fire station are doing a non-stop charity climb for the Harry appeal. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

“When his mum told us they were going to have to fundraise, between us we thought we had to do something.”

The team used a new aerial ladder, due to replace the old one in north Earlham in April.

“We were able to use a vehicle not responding to calls,” added Mr Martin. “The three on duty crews in Norwich came for part of the day but most of us were off duty.

“It was brilliant, and the support was unbelievable really.”

Even Harry was able to come and visit the crews, in between trips to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

“I think towards the end energy levels were starting to wane, but to see him there gave everyone a little extra motivation. We thought if he is going through that, we can go through this.”

Just cash donations totalled £5,268, with online donations still to be tallied.

More than £25,000 has so far been raised of a target of £239,000.

To donate visit solvingkidscancer.org.uk/campaigns/harrys-appeal.

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