TWO school nurses are working in tandem to help a four-year-old girl get the life-saving treatment she needs to beat cancer.
Tricia Abbott and Aisling Dutton will tomorrow (Saturday, March 9) attempt to pedal 50 miles on a tandem bicycle in aid of Fraja Simpson, who is undergoing treatment for a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer.
Experts say the youngster’s chances of avoiding a relapse would be much improved if she could undergo pioneering drug treatment in the US and her family has launched a £500,000 appeal to raise the money within five months.
Nurses Mrs Abbott, 52, and Mrs Dutton, 40, both of Durham, met Fraja because her brother Howie, 14, and sister Erinn, 13, are pupils at Durham School, where they work.
Their ‘Fifty for Fraja’ challenge will start at Durham School at 8am, taking in Sedgefield, Middleton St George, Hurworth and Northallerton. They hope to reach the finishing line at Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, at about 2pm.
Today, Durham School pupils and staff gave them a good-luck send-off. They released 50 pink balloons and dressed up, including as a Smurf, Shrek, the Cat in the Hat and various animals. On Sunday, some will take part in a sponsored swimathon.
Mrs Abbott said: “We know the family well through Howie and Erinn and we’ve met Fraja a couple of times. Everybody’s been full of good wishes for us.”
Mrs Dutton added: “We’re really excited, though a bit disappointed about the weather. We’re good friends so we’ll have a good chat as we go.”
Teenager Erinn said her family had been surprised and amazed at how people had rallied round to help her sister.
Fraja, who celebrates her fifth birthday on Monday, returned home to Leeming earlier this week but is due back at hospital for more chemotherapy on Wednesday.
Her parents Garry, an Afghanistan war veteran originally from Consett, and Michelle say they have been overwhelmed by the public’s generosity.
To support Fraja’s appeal, visit facebook.com/FrajaEllieAppeal or email: firstname.lastname@example.org