Support the Carpenters

By Daniel Start

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Two little brothers

On 22nd March little Arthur Carpenter, 18 months old, was diagnosed with brain cancer (desmoplastic nodular medulloblastoma). He was about half way through his 9 month chemotherapy last week, when his brother Freddie, 4 years old, was also diagnosed with cancer (a soft tissue sarcoma behind the ear) also near the brain. This can't be opearted on and will likely require treatment in the USA.

The stress and worry aside, the treatments are gruelling for the family. They involve spending most days at Great Ormond Street Hospital, sometimes in solitary confinement due to immunity issues, attached to a drip most of the time. Now they have two children in different wards and another nine months to bear.

Two amazing parents

Natalie and Martin are devasted. First there was Arthur's news, and now Freddie's. They are being incredibly practical and resourceful, but they now face another year of daily hospital visits, treatments and, of course, gruelling uncertainty. They are the strongest people I have ever met, and both have put their jobs on hold to care full time for their children, but there is incredible stress in the everyday and we feel that some extra funds would help remove one little worry.

How we can support them

We've asked them to think of some of the things that cost and would help. The list below is based on what they know today. The treatment plans could change and as such, so could their financial priorities:

A) Transport (£3,000)

Great Ormond Street is located in central London within the congestion charging zone. The hospital doesn't have a car park and there are no subsidies available to Natalie and Martin for reduced parking. Typically one day of parking will cost upwards of £40 and they will have to do this journey over 70 times.

B) Foreign treatment (£12,000)

The NHS will cover the cost of treatment in America as well as a return flight for each family member and accommodation. However, being away from their friends and family will bring with it additional challenges. It's likely any US treatment for Freddie will clash with Arthur's treatment, meaning only one parent will be able to travel whilst the other stays at home caring for Arthur. This support would enable Natalie and Martin to fly out friends and family to help support them during this time as well as enable them to pay for a couple more flights each to allow them to both spend time with both children during this challenging period.

C) Carers (£6,000)

The logistics of supporting two children with cancer are difficult to imagine. The family will be regularly split up for days at a time and their biggest challenge will be finding enough hours in the day to manage. Staff at Great Ormond Street have suggested employing a nanny for a few months whilst both boys are having treatment and this is something Natalie and Martin would greatly love to be able to do.

D) Toys and clothes (£1,500)

To help pay for toys and games for the boys and sets of clothes which they can keep at the hospital. They would also love to buy the boys wetsuits that can be used with Hickman lines. Currently they boys cannot go swimming or even have a proper bath, so these wetsuits would give them some of their old lives back during treatment. Only one supplier in the U.K. makes them and they cost £300 each as they are made to measure.

E) Holiday and entertainment (£3,500)

To support the family to take the boys on days out to help make the period of treatment more enjoyable. We would also like to see if we can raise enough for a family holiday when all the initial treatments are over next year.

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Daniel Start