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Smiley Riley Fund helps launch new support network
A CHARITY set up in memory of a little fighter from York whose courage inspired thousands of people has launched a new support network to help other families.
The Smiley Riley Fund was formed in honour of Riley Plant, from Burnholme, who died aged only 21 months last September from a rare and incurable brain tumour.
The fund has since developed a partnership with brain tumour charity brainstrust.
Its supporters said the new service will be “the start of a long legacy” for Riley.
The first dedicated, nationally accessible support service for families who have a child battling a brain tumour, it is the result of Smiley Riley’s fundraising so far and was launched at London Zoo, with guests including young brain-tumour victims.
Simone Potter, Riley’s grandmother and the fund’s founder, said: “We are thrilled to be collaborating with brainstrust to launch this new UK-wide support service, and are confident it will leave no family feeling lost or alone in their journey.
“This is the start of a long and fantastic legacy for Riley. We are working tirelessly to make sure we can use our experiences to help others going through similar circumstances.”
Helen Bulbeck, co-founder of brainstrust, said: “We know a brain tumour diagnosis is devastating news, even more so where the patient is a child, as the diagnoses and associated treatments bring a huge range of difficult practical, emotional, and financial challenges for the whole family and young survivors are often left with a number of disabilities or special needs.
“This new service is long overdue and is an extension of our existing work, where we have more than seven years of insight into the issues which face people upon being told they have a brain tumour.”
The service’s new website – brainstrust.org.uk/little-brainstrust – carries information on everything from tips for families on communicating to advice on financial help. Smiley Riley has also announced a dedicated fund which offers small grants to help with costs such as childcare and parking for parents of young brain tumour sufferers.
Meanwhile, a free “Little Brain Box” contains resources for families as they deal with their child’s diagnosis, while brainstrust offers round-the-clock coaching-led support. To support the Smiley Riley Fund, visit thesmileyrileyfund.co.uk.
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