NORTH East singer Cheryl Cole has lent her support to a fundraising appeal in aid of a young brain tumour patient.
The Newcastle-born pop star has donated a selection of signed memorabilia to nine-year-old cancer sufferer Brandon Ballance, in a bid to boost a charity drive to take him on a dream trip to swim with dolphins in America.
The former X Factor judge’s gesture comes just five weeks before Brandon flies off to Florida to fulfil his lifelong wish following a major campaign started by his devoted mum Sarah Nicholson.
Sarah from Amble, in Northumberland, has managed to raise almost £17,000 in her bid to “make Brandon smile again”, after almost seven years of harrowing medication and hospital stays.
The 33-year-old says she is “overwhelmed” by the latest donation, which includes a CD of Cole’s latest album, Messy Little Raindrops, two photographs and a huge poster, which are all signed: “Best wishes, Cheryl Cole”. Single mum Sarah is set to sell the autographed items on the internet and hopes they will help her raise the additional cash needed “to give Brandon the best possible experience” overseas.
“We just can’t believe it. I’m absolutely overwhelmed by it,” said Sarah, also mum to four-year-old Sienna, who launched an appeal to take Brandon on his dream trip in The Journal earlier this year.
She added: “It’s amazing to think that our appeal, which started as something so small has grown beyond our expectations and the fact that a celebrity has now donated something to Brandon’s Wish Fund is just fantastic.”
Brandon was diagnosed with a growth on his brain when he was aged just two. Since then he has endured course after course of chemotherapy.
He has just completed a course of radiotherapy which has left him depending on a tube to feed. Sarah, of Links Avenue, made the appeal in March over fears Brandon could relapse and become too ill to travel. She is now planning to list the Cheryl Cole items for sale on the internet auction website Ebay in the next couple of days.
England cricket ace Steve Harmison has also donated a signed shirt to the appeal and Sarah is asking for any club interested in raffling the shirt on behalf of Brandon’s Wish Fund to get in touch.
She added: “Brandon is really looking forward to the trip and is asking every single day if it’s time to go. We are going in about five weeks, but that just seems like a lifetime to him. He’s really excited.
“I just want to thank everyone who has made a donation so far for making this possible for my little boy.”
If anyone would like to make a donation, call Sarah on 07725 147188. Deposits can also be made into a charitable account at any Lloyds TSB bank quoting account number 15355568 and sort code 772004.
Or cheques made payable to Brandon’s Wish Fund can be posted to Sarah Nicholson at 57 Links Avenue, Amble, Northumberland, NE65 ORX.