A six-year-old cancer survivor from Asfordby is the face of a campaign to win £7 million for CLIC Sargent, the cancer support charity that got him and his family through four years of gruelling treatment.
Throughout January, Oscar Dustan’s photo and his family’s story will be on hundreds of posters being put up by an army of volunteers across the East Midlands, who are determined to help the charity become the supermarket Morrisons’ new charity partner.
Supermarket staff are being asked to vote for their preferred charity to support and Team CLIC Sargent has launched this campaign in a bid to gain their votes.
Oscar was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2012 when he was just two-and-a-half years old.
His dad, Ryan, said: “The news turned my world upside down; I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I just wished that I could make it me instead of him.
“I think I almost broke my wife’s Tania’s hand by squeezing it so hard.”
Ryan added: “We met Tamsin, our CLIC Sargent social worker, after we’d been in hospital in Nottingham a few days. She came to Oscar’s bed and introduced herself; she was like a knight in shining armour and helped us get through it.
“We told her that money was going to be an issue for us, as I was only allowed three days of compassionate leave and we had to care for Oscar and his little sister too.
“I just wanted to make sure that we’d still be able to put a roof over the kids’ heads, and Tamsin’s support with financial grants and benefits made that possible. Her support was phenomenal in so many ways.”
CLIC Sargent research has shown that, on average, parents whose children are on cancer treatment face extra living expenses of £600 a month, forcing many into debt.
Ruth Caulfield, fund-raising manager, said: “Seven million pounds would transform the lives of thousands of young cancer patients and their families right across the UK, and we’re so proud to have the backing of Oscar, his family, and our army of volunteers in the East Midlands.
“If we win, CLIC Sargent will be able to double the amount of financial grants we give to families and young people struggling to cope with the extra costs of cancer, increase specialist nursing support for young patients, and create safe havens for families to relax away from the intensity of the cancer wards.”
Ryan added: “I hope that Morrisons’ employees understand how important their vote is to families like ours.
“Thank God Oscar is in remission and has now started his second year of primary school.
“He’s bounced back so well, he really is incredible. It’s like he never had cancer.
“But without Tamsin and CLIC Sargent all of this would have been a nightmare; I don’t even want to think about it.”
For more information, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk/ morrisons