Harry Shaw was aged just five when he lost his battle against cancer in June 2019, but seven friends from Bedford are carrying his legacy with a monumental challenge this weekend.
‘Harry’s Giant Pledge’ aims to raise £500,000 to fund pioneering research into a new treatment approach for children with sarcoma cancers.
On Saturday, Thomas Bull, Chris Clark, Peter Crews, James Houghton, Mark Lowten, Joe Sylvester and Paul Wheeler will leave Royal Marsden Hospital in Fulham at the crack of dawn.
The team will cycle the 100 kilometres to Goldington Road with the match ball for Bedford Blues’ ‘Battle of Bedfordshire’ season closer against Ampthill.
After dropping off the match ball in time for kick off at 2pm, the team will run circuits around the town aiming to cover a further 100 kilometres between them:
“Our aim is to raise money and hopefully reach the target required to fund a 3 year programme of dedicated research into Ewing’s Sarcoma and other childhood cancers to ensure children like Harry have a better chance of surviving.”
Harry Shaw was at the start of his rugby journey when he lost his life to cancer and was the little boy who inspired Lewis Hamilton to win the Spanish Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who helped launch ‘Harry’s Giant Pledge’, dubbed Harry his “spirit angel”, when he met Harry’s parents, Charlotte and James in August 2019.
The seven-time Formula One world champion even arranged for one of his Mercedes cars to be flown out to Harry’s home in order to lend his support and appreciation.
Funding will go towards testing cancer drugs that have been successfully trialled in adults so they can be used in paediatric treatment.
The research will combine these drugs with radiotherapy for the first time to make the treatment much more effective for children with sarcomas.
The sports world has united behind Harry with support coming in from Formula One, England captain Harry Kane, Gary Lineker and in December 2019, Harlequins supported ‘Harry’s Giant Pledge’ at their Premiership rugby match against Gloucester.
Harry’s mantra during his chemotherapy was, “Let’s just get it done”, which has become the tagline for the huge range of fundraising activities that have already taken place.
This weekend is the latest in a long line of challenges, with fundraising efforts having almost reached the half a million target, with the current tally at £490,577.
To read more about Harry’s story, you can visit @harryspledge5 on social media or their JustGiving website – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/beattheblueschallenge