A STAGGERING £25,000 has been raised in a month-and-a-half to help a 21-year-old man who is suffering from two brain tumours.
Reece Hawley, of Clayhill Road, Basildon, will now be able to take the drug Avastin.
It costs £2,000 a time and is no longer available on the National Health Service.
Friends and family have raised £15,000, while this week the Tom Bowdidge Foundation, based in Colchester, gave £10,000.
Reece’s mum Karen, 50, was stunned by the foundation’s generosity.
She said: “When I found out about the donation, I was a wreck.
“I had no idea. I am in shock.
When we started this it felt like treatment was such a long way away.
“Now we are actually at the stage where it could happen.
“We are seeing Reece’s consultant today and will start the ball rolling on getting him the drug he needs.
“I want to thank the foundation and everyone who has helped. We are overwhelmed.”
The foundation’s donation is its first after being set up earlier this year by parents Nikki and Richard Bowdidge. Their son Tom, 19, died last October after undergoing more than a year of treatment for a rare stomach cancer.
Nikki, 48, of West Bergholt, near Colchester, said: “This is exactly what we are about.
“I can’t imagine what it would have been like to find out the NHS would not fund your treatment.
“I simply don’t understand because the NHS did everything for Tom, even when they said he only had three months to live. We will be forever grateful.’’ Nikki added: “This treatment could give Reece twomore years of life. You can’t say no to that.” Reece was fit and healthy until he had a bleed on the brain in May 2013, caused by a tangle of blood vessels called arteriovenous malformation.
After six weeks of daily radiotherapy and chemotherapy, his family thought he was on the mend, but doctors found two tumours.
Reece, a former former pupil at Woodlands School in Basildon, is on his third and final round of chemotherapy.
Doctors have recommended he try Avastin – for which the NHS cut funding last year.
Inspirational teenager Tom Bowdidge was just 18 when he was told he had a rare, aggressive stomach cancer.
Although given just three months to live, he started fundraising for the Teenage Cancer Trust and shaved off his hair for his first fundraiser.
He underwent several lengthy bouts of chemotherapy, all the time fundraising, and defied doctors’ prognosis.
By the time of his death, at 19, he had inspired people to raise more than £100k for the charity.
Parents Nikki and Richard set up the foundation after Tom told them to “crack on”, with fundraisers held across north Essex.
Nikki added: “So many people have been asking what we are going to use the money for. Now we can show then."