Seriously ill Chesterfield teen to be ‘face’ of Marathon

James Underwood with mum Dawn and sister Laura.
James Underwood with mum Dawn and sister Laura.

A seriously ill Brimington teenager is to be the ‘face’ of this weekend’s Chesterfield Half Marathon - after organisers stepped in to help his family.

James Underwood, 18, who has a brain tumour, will be travelling to Florida on Friday for life-saving ‘proton radiotherapy’ treatment - paid for by the NHS.

James Underwood and mum Dawn.

James Underwood and mum Dawn.

His family and friends had been busy raising money so that his mum, Dawn Hardstaff, could have financial peace of mind during the three months she will be with him in the States.

But now Chesterfield-based charity Kids ‘n’ Cancer have stepped in the family can focus on helping James get better.

Dawn, 48, who lives on Ringwood Road, said: “It has been horrendous. James was a normal, very active teenage boy.

“He was doing a brickwork course at Chesterfield College but since his diagnosis everything has just come to a stop.”

Mike Hyman of Kids n Cancer UK donates �1000 raised by the Chesterfield Half Marathon to James Underwood and mum Dawn.

Mike Hyman of Kids n Cancer UK donates �1000 raised by the Chesterfield Half Marathon to James Underwood and mum Dawn.

Dawn says they have raised four to five hundred pounds so far but need about £4,000 to cover her living costs while she is in the States.

Dawn has also been helped in her fundraising efforts by her friend of 20 years, Diane Mills.

Diane, 47, has helped set up a ‘crowd-funding’ page on the internet as well as a special fundraising event which will take place on Sunday, October 2 at Brimington Church Hall.

James said: “It has been a lot to deal with but I am quite a chilled out person.

James Underwood.

James Underwood.

“ I am doing better now and I am really grateful to everyone who is helping me.

“My friends have been great at contributing to the appeal and mum’s friend Diane has been a massive help - we definitely couldn’t have done it without her.”

To donate to James’ fundraising effort, go to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/JamesUnderwood.

The Half Marathon takes place on Sunday from 9am.

James Underwood with mum Dawn, sister Laura, Diane Mills and Mike Hyman of Kids n Cancer UK.

James Underwood with mum Dawn, sister Laura, Diane Mills and Mike Hyman of Kids n Cancer UK.

‘This is the news we never wanted...’

Mike Hyman of Chesterfield-based cancer charity Kids ‘n’ cancer said: “We never wanted someone from Chesterfield to need this but we knew the day would come.

“It’s great the NHS are paying for the treatment but funding three months in Florida for his mum is difficult.

“We are going to cover Dawn’s living costs while she is there and also pay her mortgage here for three months as well.

“We will also pay for his sister to go over there so she can support them.

“On Sunday, all the runners and people who turn up to the Party in the Park will be asked to help raise some money for them so we can take some of the pressure off their shoulders.”