Wayland Academy pupils send message of support to Watton's Deryn Blackwell
PUBLISHED: 13:11 16 November 2013 | UPDATED: 13:11 16 November 2013
© Archant Norfolk 2013
"Stay strong and keep fighting" - that's the message from friends of a Watton teenager battling a rare duo of cancers more than 200 miles from home.
Deryn Blackwell, 13, has been in hospital in Bristol since February after undergoing and recovering from a bone-marrow transplant which doctors hoped would treat his leukaemia and Langerhans cell sarcoma.
After weeks of waiting, the Wayland Academy pupil was told the donor’s marrow had failed to graft and his last chance would be to have his own bone-marrow stem cells put back in.
But as Deryn fights three infections and waits anxiously for his marrow to graft back, friends at Wayland Academy organised a school day in his honour.
Marcus Patience, 13, from Watton, said he wanted to bring positive thoughts and donations to Deryn, his mum Callie, dad Simon and brother Dylan to help them through.
Earlier this year the year-nine pupil grew his hair into a mohican to raise cash for Deryn’s charity foundation, Do Everything.
“I miss him,” he said. “He is so laid back. If there was something wrong he would choose his own point of view and choose who he thinks is right.
“The more time has gone on I thought I wanted to raise money for him. It’s wrong for a child to be in pain. I wanted him to know that all the money we raise is to help him feel better.”
The pupils had a sponsored silence and a non-uniform theme based around Deryn’s foundation colours black and pink, and organised a cake sale.
Hoping to raise £1,000 for the family, Sam Wheeler, 13, form Watton, said: “It would be really nice to see him.
“Everyone misses you Deryn – stay strong and keep fighting.”
Deryn’s mum said the doctors have spoken to the family about what happens if the transplant fails again.
Senior teacher Glen Allot taught Deryn before he left the school for treatment.
He said: “It’s a day for Children in Need and we have a child of our own who is in need so we have incorporated the two.
“The family have been so open – all Deryn’s friends know so much about the situation.”
Mrs Blackwell said doctors had a meeting with a hospice in Bristol this week which could provide him with palliative and respite care.
Although they do not usually take people who are not from the area, because Deryn has said he doesn’t want to go home to die they agreed he could be there.
Mrs Blackwell said: “This is obviously a lot for us to take in but it isn’t something that has come as a shock to us.
“There was always a chance that this wouldn’t work – from the moment your child is diagnosed with cancer, there is always that chance that you will end up saying goodbye to them. But for many, thankfully, it never gets that far.”
The family spend all their money on healthy food, fuel to travel to and from Bristol and Watton and bills and say it is hard to keep up with their new way of living, despite various donations.
If you can help the family or want to follow their daily progress, visit www.doeverything.org.uk or follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/_DoEveRYthiNg
Are you fundraising for a good cause? Email firstname.lastname@example.org