Friends of a Sutton Bridge family are rallying round to raise cash after a boy of nine had surgery to remove a brain tumour.
Riley Watts, a pupil at Westmere Primary School, remains in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and his parents Emma Kelly and Shane Watts are taking it in turns to stay at his bedside while making life as normal as possible for their other three children.
The family has had a double blow with the discovery that football loving Ryan’s tumour was cancerous.
Shane told us: “There’s no words I can use to describe what it’s like.
“You don’t think it is going to happen to your own children – when it does, it’s gut wrenching.”
One friend, Jayann Raywood, has already raised more than £1,000 towards her £5,000 target on JustGiving.
Jayann said: “This news has had a massive impact on the community as we all know the family – although money won’t solve their problems or cure Riley’s illness, it will help with other necessities.”
She said help has come from villagers, including Stacey Downham and sisters Elouise and Chantelle Burton-Rayner, who are holding a fundraising disco at The Curlew Centre, and Susie Piccaver, who had a donations box at her boot camp on Memorial Park.
“This is every parent’s worst nightmare and we just trying to help,” said Jayann. “This couldn’t have happened to a more close-knit and genuinely loving family. Emma dotes on her children and everything Shane does is for his kids.”
Riley’s family hadn’t asked their community to raise funds and are both amazed and grateful to get such support.
Forklift driver Shane (40) said: “We can’t thank people enough for everything they’re doing for Riley.”
Riley had his operation two weeks ago and there’s no news yet on when he will be allowed home.
Money raised by the community is helping with the family’s expenses incurred in hospital trips but most will be devoted to special treats for Riley.
Shane said: “Hopefully, when he comes home, the money’s there for him to have the puppy that he wants. He’s wanted a puppy for a few years now and I think it’s time we said ‘yes’. We would also like to take him on a family holiday.”
• To donate via Jayann’s crowdfunding site for Riley, known as Rybear, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/rybearspage