The fundraising team behind five-year-old Ballyclare leukaemia sufferer Ross Patterson have taken to the skies for cancer charities.
After Ross was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in February, his parents launched the Ross Patterson Fund in aid of Clic Sargent and the Northern Ireland Children’s Cancer Unit fund.
The fund has raised over £10,000 for both causes in five months.
The skydive, which raised £1,323.37, was the brainchild of Chelsea Kirk, Chloe McAllister and Anita Knox, who work at Valentino’s pizzeria, owned by Ross’s grandmother, in Ballyclare.
Claire recalled: “We went to watch them on the day at the Wild Geese centre in Garvagh. The girls weren’t nervous but it helped them having Ross there. He was so excited for them. We took him down to give them courage, I think he thought that he was going to skydive as well!”
Asked if she was tempted to participate in the jump, Claire laughed: “There would have had to have been an ambulance there waiting for me! My heart was pounding as I watched but they were buzzing after it!”
As for little Ross, Claire revealed: “Ross is in good spirits. He is smiling and coping tremendously well. He doesn’t complain as I think it has become a way of life for him now.
“He is now going through interim maintenance with high dose chemo and still has delayed intensification to go. He gets mouth ulcers which cause him a lot of pain because of the chemo, so he has a spray to numb his throat.”
Ross is being hailed as a superhero by the nurses treating him. His mum laughed: “He thinks he is the Hulk because the chemo is green in colour. He said to me: “Mummy, you had better go now, as I’m gonna turn into the Hulk and wreck this place and I don’t want you to get hurt because I love you.
“When he is getting an injection the nurses bend the needle, then they show him and say: “Look Ross, you are so strong!”
“We are planning to cut a few holes in his jammies and put a wee bit of green food dye on him as if he has turned into the Hulk while asleep.
“He is such a good kid.”
Claire is keen to pay tribute to the Ballyclare community, who have been key to their fundraising success. She stated: “People have just been fantastic. We are so grateful for their donations and fundraising efforts.”
The family are holding a blood drive on August 5 at Sixmile Leisure Centre, Ballyclare from 1.30pm-4.30pm and from 6.30pm-8.30pm.
To register, contact Andrea at: 02890534675. To donate, visit: www.justgiving.com/teams/rosspatersonfund. For more information, visit the Ross Patterson Blood Donation Drive Facebook page.