SUPPORTERS, celebrities and dignitaries joined forces to mark the anniversary of the Help Harry Help Other’s (HHHO) Drop In Cancer Centre.
The centre is the culmination of years of tireless fundraising – inspired by nine-year old Harry, who set up is charity while fighting his brave battle against cancer in 2009.
Harry was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of seven – but after a courageous fight he sadly lost his four-year battle in 2011.
The brave schoolboy set up the charity – receiving celebrity support from Gary Lineker, Duncan Bannatyne and John Terry to name just a few – selling bracelets to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
His heartbroken and determined mum Georgie – and her army of supporters – have carried on the fundraising in Harry’s memory and honour – the efforts continuing to grow and the coffers raising to over £750,000.
But the greatest legacy they have created so far is the drop-in centre – a homely respite place for cancer patients.
Speaking to The Observer, Georgie explained how the project has been far from a straight-forward experience.
After approaching the council with the idea to set up a Drop In Cancer Centre, Deputy Councillor, Ian Ward decided to get behind the project.
Harry’s mum, with help of others, then set about transforming the derelict building into a warm, inviting and tranquil place for cancer patients to visit during treatment.
Georgie said: “It’s been a real community effort and the support of the people who have sponsored the building has enabled us to create this amazing environment”
“Local company, Lark & Lark, donated and fitted a whole kitchen, just so that people could have somewhere to go for a cup of tea and a chat”
The young boy’s initiative to help other sufferers has grown bigger and better than any of his family could have ever imagined.
And with the help of his mum and other volunteers, HHHO’s Drop In Cancer Centre has helped over 150 people – a figure that is increasing every week.
Georgie added: “Harry created Help Harry Help Others and it’s because of him, his tough cancer journey and charitable outlook, that I continued it”
“I wanted to create a place where everyone is welcome, whether it’s for a quick chat or a slice of cake because there wasn’t anything like the drop in centre when I was going through this with my son, Harry.”
Since the centre opened its doors on May 11 last year, the charity has offered everything outside of treatment – including financial advice, wig and bra-fittings, coffee mornings and social activities.
Yvonne Wood – who has depended on the centre since she was diagnosed with lung cancer – said: “Cancer is a scary and daunting experience, but the centre has helped me to deal with it and without it I couldn’t have done it.
“The worst part about finding out I had cancer was feeling like I was on my own, but Georgie and everyone else involved, have made me feel like I’m part of a family.”
The centre has proven to be a lifeline for a number of cancer patients and the celebration was a great opportunity for the charity and patients to recognise the great work of volunteers and trustees who work tirelessly to keep the centre alive.
Mayor of Solihull, Glenis Slater said: “I’m extremely proud to see things like this happening in the community and the work that Georgie and the rest of the volunteers continue to do is outstanding.”