November 29th, 2016: Harvey was a cheeky boy, full of life who liked to cause trouble with his twin sibling Spencer. In 2010, Harvey was diagnosed with stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma at the age of 3. Soon after the diagnosis, his parents found out that Harvey was the only case in the world of a child with Down syndrome and high risk neuroblastoma. To treat the cancer, he went through months of grueling treatment including a 2 weeks stay in a lead lined room with no visits except from his parents. Following this treatment Harvey went into remission.
In 2014, Harvey attended with his family a Christmas event organized by Believe in Magic, a charity founded by brave Meg Bhari, which works to bring special memories to gravely ill children. At this event Harvey met Johanna (Jay) Deakin, mom of Louis Tomlinson, 1/4 of One Direction. Both Louis and Jay have been working for years with Believe in Magic supporting this charity in any way they could to help create special memories for as many children as possible.
Once home, Jay talked to Louis about Harvey. Louis was moved by Harvey’s story and said that he wanted to help as much as possible. During the following year, Louis made sure that Harvey’s family was treated to special trips and events, and was given gifts that helped create special memories. These included a trip to Disneyland in Paris, VIP treatment to one of the band’s shows and VIP treatment to the Cinderella ball, another event organized by Believe in Magic through the help of Jay Deakin and Louis Tomlinson and attended by Louis’ bandmate Liam Payne.
Unfortunately, in October of 2014 Harvey’s family were given the devastating news that the cancer was back with a tumor in his chest and one in his abdomen. In January of 2015, Harvey had surgery to remove the tumor in his chest. However, the tumor in his abdomen was deemed too dangerous to operate on.
When Jay learned in October of 2015 about Harvey’s health declining, she traveled to Bristol to spend time with him and his family. Sadly, Harvey passed away on November 29th, 2015. Louis tweeted about Harvey’s passing the day of his funeral, on December 7th, 2015.
Harvey’s story has helped bring to the forefront two important problems: childhood cancer and the fact that research into the prevention and the treatment of cancer in children is underfunded compared to adulthood cancer, and the lack of support for bereaved children.
Harvey’s mom Sarah, has turned her grief into the mission of helping bereaved children. Harvey had a twin brother, Spencer, and an older sister, Olivia. Sarah realized early on after Harvey’s passing, that there is little support for children who lose a sibling. The grief stricken parents have to put so much energy in dealing with the aftermath of the passing away of their child that little energy is left to emotionally support their other children. Sarah came up with the idea of memory boxes in which bereaved children can keep objects and photographs of their lost sibling. These boxes can become something that bereaved children hold onto for years to come and can bring them some comfort. To support this initiative Sarah founded the charity A Sibling’s Wish. A Sibling’s Wish is now spreading its wings and has already commissioned several boxes for bereaved children.
Recently, A Sibling’s Wish was welcomed as official partner charity of #UKCharityWeek. #UKCharityWeek is a week in which awareness and fundraising for charities in the UK are promoted during a time of the year in which people are more receptive to giving. #UKCharityWeek is held the first full week of December, which this year falls between 5th-11th December. Another recent achievement of A Sibling’s Wish is that they have become affiliated with Together for Short Lives, a UK based leading charity which speaks out for children and young people who are expected to have a short life.
In honor of Harvey’s birthday (July 30th), this year we set up a fundraiser benefiting Solving Kids Cancer, a charity suggested by Harvey’s mom Sarah, in which we raised over $900. Please consider a donation to Solving Kids Cancer to help fight pediatric cancer.
Consider also a donation to A Sibling’s Wish; here is their justgiving page.
You can also sign up for EasyFundraising and select A Sibling’s Wish, to donate part of the profit selected companies make from your purchases online to this amazing charity. It does not cost you a penny extra!