A family from Milcombe, near Banbury, has raised over £17,000 to thank the hospital teams who looked after their son during his cancer treatment.

Finn Hagger was just five years old when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in November 2018.

Since then he has had over three years of intensive treatment at the Oxford Children’s Hospital, spending much of his young life on Kamran’s ward, which cares for children with cancer.

His mum, Hannah, explains: ‘All our lives were completely upside down as we came to terms with the mountain Finn had to climb and the journey we all had ahead of us. The days, weeks, months and years that followed were the hardest of our lives yet. 

‘Navigating childhood cancer presented Finn and us with enormous challenges at every turn, and it also changed the lives of Finn’s sister, Millie who was four and Flo, who was just a one year old at the time.’

Finn started his treatment soon after the diagnosis, and the family have calculated he has since endured 1,174 days of relentless chemotherapy. 

Hannah adds: ‘Witnessing your child managing the enormity of this type of treatment with such strength and courage is truly humbling. 

‘Finn pushed on through these precious early years of his childhood with unparalleled drive, bravery and tenacity. We couldn’t be prouder of him. 

Last year Finn completed his cancer treatment, and the family decided to do something to say thank you to Kamran’s Ward.

Finn absolutely loves playing football, and he and his sister Millie are both members of Hook Norton FC, where his dad Carl is also a coach. So Hannah and Carl decided on a community-based football challenge and hoped that the day might raise £10,000.

Carl explains: ‘When he was out of hospital, and despite physical challenges and shielding due to the pandemic, Finn found joy and escapism playing football - running around with his team like he was any other child on the pitch.’

So last June, Finn and his friends played ‘The Longest Game’ – a football match that lasted three hours, two minutes and three seconds to reflect the three years, two months and three weeks that Finn had been having treatment. 

Hannah said: ‘We were absolutely astounded by the support from our friends, family and local community. And despite shocking weather the event, which was held at Hook Norton Sports and Social Club, was a huge success.

Carl explained: ‘We wanted our fundraising to be used for more equipment, games and activities for the Kamran’s Ward playroom. We know that finding a distraction through play can give a child moments of relief from their illness or procedure, helping make everything less scary.’

The family were overjoyed that the match, together with other fundraising activities raised an incredible £17,545 and this January the family came in to present a cheque to Oxford Hospitals Charity, and Kamran’s Ward senior play specialist, Sheila Caldicott.

As he handed over the giant cheque, Finn, now aged ten, said he felt ‘really proud’ and added: ‘I was in Kamran’s Ward for treatment a lot, it was kind of annoying that I couldn’t go to school, and I felt quite scared at first, because I didn’t know what I would have to do.  

‘But I got used to it and I played a lot of top trumps with my dad and I liked the nurses who were kind and gentle. I was a bit nervous when I went back to school, but it was fine when I got back.

‘We played a big football match for the hospital – and it feels really good to raise so much money – it’s going to help the play area in Kamran’s Ward and it’s great that the children will have more fun there.’

Claire Newton from Oxford Hospitals Charity said: ‘It has been such a privilege to meet the Hagger family and hear first-hand about their incredible fundraising efforts. Finn, his sisters and parents are utterly inspirational and their support means so much to staff in our hospitals. This donation will have such a positive impact on future families spending time on Kamran’s Ward.’ 

Sheila Caldicott, Senior Play Specialist on Kamran's Ward, added: "I am so proud of Finn and very grateful to him and his family for this amazing donation to Kamran’s Playroom.

'Their determination and dedication to this fundraiser was truly inspiring and it is an amazing achievement.

'We have worked together to draw up a list of things for the playroom that will help make the journeys of young patients on Kamran’s ward a little bit easier. I can’t thank them enough!'

To continue the support from Finn’s fabulous fundraising for Kamran’s please visit https://tinyurl.com/3tekwtur

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