A North East newspaper’s front page story about a dad needing £33,500 for urgent cancer treatment resulted in a reader coming forward on the same day offering the full amount.
The Shields Gazette had reported on Monday that cancer sufferer Glen Cunningham needed the cash to buy a life-prolonging wonder drug, which he had been refused on the NHS.
The 29-year-old plasterer from South Shields, who has 10 brain tumours, wanted to start a 12-month course of Avastin so he could spend longer with partner Yasmin, seven-year-old daughter Lauren and 10-month-old son Glen Jnr.
His plight touched the heart of reader Kenny Vickers after he saw the daily newspaper’s front page story, and the property developer immediately called the paper and offered to pay for all of Glen’s treatment.
Gazette editor John Szymanski said it was proof that newspapers could make a difference in their communities, and ran a front page story on Kenny Vickers’ generous donation the next day.
Said John: ”We have had a lot of reaction from readers since we reported his sad plight, and pledges of cash flooded in. A reader even got Ian Botham to re-tweet our story to help publicise Glen’s tragic dilemma.
“For someone to step in so quickly with such a substantial sum of money after picking up the paper, to give Glen a chance of life is unbelievably generous and simply overwhelming.
“The Gazette was so pleased to play a part in this heart-warming story, and staff are absolutely thrilled with the news.
“We also reported that a disabled eight-year-old girl, whose family were set to lose a motability car which was their lifeline, also won a U-turn from benefits bosses.
“Anyone who doubts newspapers can make a difference in their communities will have to think again after such an amazing turnaround.
“Yesterday Glen felt there was little hope on the horizon but thanks to Mr Vickers, he now has a fighting chance of sharing more precious time with his family.”
The Gazette has also passed the £30,000 mark in its ongoing fundraising campaign – c/o St Clare’s – to help a cash-strapped hospice in Jarrow facing financial difficulties.