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The story of Freddie, the little boy from Yateley who brought the community together

Freddie and Mum

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 6:00am 4th November 2016. (Updated at 5:43pm 4th November 2016)

Meet Freddie Hunt.

He's two years old and has an inoperable brain tumour.

Freddie's family are trying to raise funds for proton therapy treatment in the US - which is potentially life saving. 

The treatment costs at least £100,000 is not available yet in this country. 

All week Eagle Radio has been supporting their plight.

We have received an amazing and heartwarming response from the community.

This is Freddie's story:

 Freddie's parents Abby and David Hunt started fundraising locally.

They later contacted Eagle Radio and broadcast their plight during a live interview on the Peter Gordon Breakfast Show.

Abby said every day Freddie is deteriorating: “He his having up to 60 seizures a day where the tumour is so large it is leaning on that side of his brain.

“He had one this week where his legs had given way and he clearly couldn’t see, so it is stepping up quite quickly. His quality of life is quite poor. We do not want to watch and wait.”

They say they are not prepared to wait - as their little boy suffers up to 60 seizures a day.   

Abby told Eagle: "We don't want to leave it any longer than necessary - we don't reallly want to do the watch and wait, we just want to get out him out there and dealt with as quick as possible.

"It's my son, there's just no way I can watch and wait and watch him deteriorate - I really can't do that - I can't do that."

David added that there is little they can do to help him: “Just hold him. Comfort him. He doesn’t know he is having a fit. He is just gone for them.”

The family say the community coming together to support their appeal is like having a “big warm blanket around us. It has made us feel stronger.

“It has given us something else to focus on instead of the negative.”

 

 Then 12-year-old Finlay stepped in to help fundraise

He shaved off his hair in return for donations.H

He is friends with Freddie's older brother Harry and has known him for around 2 years.

He told us he often goes to the family's house when "Freddie is dancing", so wants to help get him better. 

He said: "I think they're (his family) all really proud of me and got my back on this, trying to help me raise as much money as I can.

"It makes me feel good about myself, I'm proud that I'm doing my bit to help Freddie and try to get him as well as possible."

His mum Hayley said: "I put a thing out on Facebook and people have just been offering so many donations, that I then could not refuse him having that done.

"It's very, very important to us that Freddie gets everything he needs so we can all play out part together.

"It's been amazing everything's that's going on in Yateley, and we're just proud to be part of it really."

freddie shave

She told us her reaction when Finlay first suggested the idea: "My first thought was school, because they're very strict on the haircuts so that was my first thought but then I thought, with what Freddie's going through, how can I say no to him?

"He wants to do it - it's his choice. He's a twin brother as well, so everyone's delighted they're going to know which ones which!" 

 

Next, a Farnborough charity offered its support

They want to offer practical and emotional support to the family.

Cameron Miller is from the Brain Tumour Charity in Farnborough:  "It's horrendous, and the truth is, the reason they find themselves in this position is there aren't enough treatments out there, there aren't good enough treatments for people.

"Which is why we have committed to date over £18 million into research to try and find a cure.

"If there is anything we can do to support them - then obviously we would do."

brain tumour charity

He said they cannot help cure Freddie - but they can offer practical and emotional support: "I wish we had a silver bullet that was a cure, I wish we had something that made this go away for families, that it was never in existence, but the truth is, we don't.

"But what we can do, is we can work with them, work on individual strategies and help them to cope with it better."

 

By now the response to Freddie's story was overwhelming - so 'Freddie's Friday' was born

His story had touched the hearts of so many. 

It got Eagle Radio thinking 'how can we support the campaign?"

Paul Marcus explains: "When Freddie and his family came in to the studios, we received an absolutely overwhelming response.

"It seemed to be something that really touched on people's hearts.

"With a situation like this you can either make the decision to find reasons not to do it - or you can just go with your heart and do the best you can to help someone who desperately needs helping."

"We've decided that this Friday is going to be Freddie's Friday, and we're going to have 12 hours of special broadcasting starting in 7 in the morning through to in the evening.

"We had staff here wanting to help, we had listeners calling up wanting to know if there was more that they could do, we had families, friends...it seemed to be something that really touched on people's hearts."

 

While we put the plans in place another team got to work giving the Hunt family a boost

They love QPR Football Club.

They are life-long fans.

After hearing the news they invited young Freddie and his family down to the club's training ground.

Dave and his five children, including Freddie, spent the day watching their heroes train, had a guided tour of the training facilities and met the players along with manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

They were also delighted to meet QPR Director of Football and club legend, Les Ferdinand - who was the one who called Dave to personally invite him to the training ground.

Then they were also treated to lunch at the club's training ground

Abby said: "It's all very much pointed around Freddie at the moment, so it's something for us as a family, and a really nice memory for us all together.

"It's lovely to look forward, and it's lifted us all up, given us a real boost.

"My husband's been like a dog with two tails since then, he really has, he's been very excited." 

David told Eagle: "Excitement isn't the word. I can't explain. They're my heroes, especially Sir Les who put in the call last Tuesday. Unbelievable.

"I'm still pinching myself that I've spoken to Les on my phone. It's truly amazing, I never thought a call like that would ever happen.

"We're meeting the players, watching them train and then having lunch afterwards, and going round their training ground.

"We can't put it in to words. We're so overwhelmed, we never thought anything like this would happen to someone we know, let alone us. We just can't say thanks enough, we really can't."

"It will be a very special day." 

 

At this point it was thought around £25,000 has been raised through various events, and a fundraising page.

 

Now back to the Farnborough Charity - they step in to explain what Proton treatment is and how it could save Freddie

Erica Moyes from the Brain Tumour Charity told us: "The difference between conventional radiotherapy and proton beam therapy is that it's much more targetted.

"Conventional therapy uses x-ray beams which go into the head through the brain tumour and back out the other said.

"The proton beam therapy can actually be formulated so that it stops at the brain tumour, it doesn't keep going so it doesn't have that bad effect on the rest of the brain.

brain tumour charity

"Seizures might decrease, mood might pick up and it really will affect quality of life in a very positive way.

"Imagine it as a fire in a rubbish bin and you want to put that fire out.

"If you use something really big like a fireman's hose, you're going to put out that fire but you're also going to create a lot of damage around that area.

"Proton beam therapy is more targetted like a garden hose, so you use the garden hose to put out the fire just in the rubbish bin without causing the damage in the surrounding area.

"So that much more targetted treatment will have less bad effects on that person receiving the treatment."

 

An artist offers to auction his work for proceeds to their cause

Nathan Gibbons, who lives in Bracknell and heard of the fundraising appeal on Eagle Radio, has decided to auction his art work.

He said: "I've never been a position to give financially, but when I checked by studio I found that I had a load of work that I could actually donate or auction to raise money that would help." 

"It's a local cause and it's just nice to be able to help." 

Asked what made him step in, he explains: "I'm a parent and I would hate to be in Freddie's parents situation. It would just be my worst nightmare, you'd just feel so helpless."

Nathan Gibbons

"Even if you could just give something it's going to help."

"It's coming round to Christmas, everybody had good intentions. You could do with that one less present or just give something small.

"Every little thing you can give is going to get this little boy to America, and potentially save his life."

 

It's back to the pitch as 'Freddie's Football' is announced

Yateley United Football Club will host a special charity celebrity football match to raise funds.

The game will take place on December 4th and feature a number of celebrities and former players.

Colin Ive is the club's chairman: "We're confident that we can run this match.

"We've got some great suppliers that have donated a PA system that we'll have in place, a generator to run it, a couple of marquees.

Yateley United FC Colin Ive

"We're building on it all the time and it's going to be a really good occasion.

"This is life, bad things do happen so let's get involved.

"Get involved, that's our attitude, do what we can for our community.

"Being such a strong community club ourselves we want to help - that's what we're there for.

"Come along and enjoy yourselves, enjoy the game, enjoy the atmosphere and don't forget your money!"

 

A Fleet school announces its bid for the cause

St Nicholas' School has asked students to bring in donations for 'Freddie's Friday'.

Headteacher Annette Whatmough tells Eagle the school was keen to help as soon as they heard Freddie's story: "The children are bringing in donations, they've heard about Freddie and a lot of them were quite touched by it.

"They'll bring in whatever coins they can to raise some money.

"If the whole community pulls the effort then they're bound to be successful.

"The point I was making to the children was bring in whatever you can because out of small things big things can happen.

"I just feel that we can contribute to this, obviously the school isn't going to raise £100,000 but we'll raise as much as we can."

Last week marked the 20th anniversary since a pupil at the school died from a brain tumour.

In memory the school set up the charity we spoke to earlier.

Mrs Whatmough St Nicholas' School

 

And that brings us to today

These are just a few of so many heartwarming gestures the community has made to Freddie's cause.

As the fundraising campaign gathers pace, Abby told us she now finally has hope: "I really think it's going to happen, I really do - I can see it's going to happen.

"And I just hope I can get him all well and we come back here and it's the end of a really happy story - for him to come home well and healthy - I really do."

Today Eagle Radio's 12 hours of broadcast dedicated to the little boy's plight takes place.

You can find out more about the dedicated day by visiting our Freddie's Friday page.

You can also keep track of what's happening throughout the day - and check the family's fundraising total - here or by listen live for all the big breakthroughs throughout the day.

 freddie

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