A two-year-old boy with leukemia is helping Morrisons raise charity cash this #givingtuesday

Rory Holloran has spurred staff at Morrisons Devizes – including doting gran, night-worker Carol Lee – to raise more than £16,000 for CLIC Sargent, the UK’s biggest charity supporting children and young people with cancer and the supermarket’s charity partner.

Carol, who has worked at Morrisons for 19 years, said: “When we began to support CLIC Sargent in February, I knew it was a great cause, but I didn’t realise just how valuable it is. When Rory was diagnosed in June, our whole world changed. The support CLIC Sargent has given to us all has been unbelievable. Now we just want to give something back to say thank you for everything the charity has done for us.”

They are encouraging Morrisons colleagues and customers across the country to back CLIC Sargent this Giving Tuesday, so more families like theirs can benefit.

Giving Tuesday on 28 November is an internationally recognised day of giving, run in the UK by the Charities Aid Foundation. This year, Morrisons are giving customers the chance to support CLIC Sargent for Giving Tuesday, by electing to add £1 to their bill at the till on the day.

Customers can also buy an exclusive Giving Tuesday bouquet, available in store from November 23 to 28, priced at £5 with 50p going to CLIC Sargent. The bouquet features germini flowers in CLIC Sargent pinks and whites.

Michelle Hawkins, Community Champion at the Devizes store, added: “There are lots of charities out there and every one is worthwhile. But I do think CLIC Sargent is particularly special. They don’t just support the children and young people, they support the whole family. Rory is a very special little boy, but he is also a very poorly little boy, and his family are going through a lot of turmoil. What CLIC Sargent are doing for his family is providing a life line, and helping them cope. That is why we are proud to support them on Giving Tuesday, and every day.”

All money raised through Giving Tuesday will go towards Morrisons’ £8m fundraising target, which will transform the support CLIC Sargent gives to children and young people facing cancer, and their families.

Rory Traynor, Account Manager at CLIC Sargent, said: “Every bunch of flowers sold and every £1 donated at the till will enable us to provide emotional, practical and financial support when cancer strikes young lives. Morrisons are helping us fund pioneering Nurse Educator posts, which will enable community healthcare teams to deliver specialist cancer treatment within or nearby patients’ homes. This reduces the need for costly and time consuming travel. The money will also enable us to give more grants to ease the financial burden of a cancer diagnosis, and expand our digital services so we can help families across the UK whenever and wherever they need support.”

For more information on the partnership, visit clicsargent.org.uk/morrisons

Rory’s story

 In June this year, Rory Holloran, then just two months shy of his second birthday, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. His family was left devastated as the tot was rushed to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to start a gruelling chemotherapy regime.

Rory’s mum, Hannah, said: “The feeling upon hearing Rory had leukaemia was just unlike anything else. My stomach just dropped. That’s the only thing I can remember. I just felt numb. I had just been looking at my baby boy, and suddenly I was looking at my baby boy with cancer. I thought “why him?’

“Rory was perky when we arrived on the ward. He had had a blood transfusion, so he was full of beans. I took him into the play room, and I saw a little boy in there who was really pale with no hair and he had a huge scar right across his head. I just burst into tears. It was as if at that moment I realised this was what we were in for.”

Rory stayed in hospital, a two hour drive from the family home, for three weeks before being sent home. But bouts of fever meant he was repeatedly readmitted, and Hannah and Rory’s dad, Matt, faced weeks away from each other.

But CLIC Sargent were there to help. The charity gave the family a £170 grant – paid for through Morrisons fundraising – and gave Matt a room to stay in at CLIC House, the charity’s  free Home from Home service just a stones throw from the hospital.

“We met a CLIC Sargent social worker called Sheila, and she was amazing” added Hannah. “She helped get Matt in CLIC House which was a huge help because I missed him as well. We were at the stage where we thought we were going to lose our baby boy – we needed each other as much as Rory needed us.

“Occasionally the nurses let Rory leave hospital for a few hours and we would just sit on the sofa in CLIC House in front the TV, doing normal stuff. We felt extremely lucky to be able to do that.”

Rory faces months of chemotherapy to fight the cancer before he can start the maintenance phase of treatment. But that hasn’t stopped him being centre-stage in the Devizes store’s fundraising efforts, which have so far totalled £16,000 – more than any other store across the UK.