The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

Harry's Giant Pledge

We would love Harry's story to inspire fundraising for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity because only research can stop this awful disease.
raised of £500,000 target
by 12495 supporters
RCN 1095197

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On 1 June 2019, five-year-old Harry Shaw took his last breath after a tough 10 month battle against Ewing's Sarcoma; a rare bone cancer.

Harry's Giant Pledge will fund pioneering research into a new treatment approach for children with sarcoma cancers. The aim is to test 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 more effective. Harrys legacy will fund a research team to test this new treatment and help the Harrys of the future.

Harry was diagnosed with cancer on 2 August 2018 when a routine scan on a small lump showed a tumour the size of a large baked potato inside Harry's right chest. Harry was 4.

In the space of a few minutes on that hot sunny afternoon the Shaw Family's life was changed forever.

Their story:

Harry started chemotherapy at University College London Hospital at 11:45 on 17 August 2018. We knew it was going to be tough but the expectation was it was treatable.

Harry had four months of strong chemotherapy which he largely charged through. Totally unfazed by his immediate hair loss he regularly attended school where he adored playing with his friends. January 2019 saw us at the Royal Brompton for chest surgery to remove the tumour and yet again Harry blew us away with his determination in recovery.

Up to this point we were upbeat and even started to plan life after his cancer treatment; not in a million years did we imagine this would be without Harry.

News from this point started to go against us at every opportunity and eventually we had to accept Harry would die.

And who is Harry? And we write is because right now its impossible to think of our beautiful little boy as was. Harry simply loves life. He's cheeky, naughty but also a lovely polite little boy. Harry is at his happiest when by the sea building sandcastles, searching for shells or paddling in the freezing water! He's a fit, strong lion of a boy who loves school, playing with his friends and running around getting up to mischief. He even inspired Lewis Hamilton to win a Grand Prix.

Losing Harry means our happy family unit of 4 now becomes 3. We lose our firstborn child; our 2 year old daughter Georgia loses her brother who she will probably never remember; and the wider family lose their first grandchild and nephew.

As a parent it is hard to convey all the feelings and emotions you are hit with when you go through this terrible thing. Disbelief, despair and despondent are but three, but the actual feeling is every emotion hitting you all at once in a giant train crash in your heart.

We would like to say Harry died in peace and comfort; to an extent he did, dying at home in his own bed surrounded by his toys and the people he loved. But the actual truth is the last few weeks of Harry's life were marked by terrible pain and suffering that no human, not least a 5 year-old boy, should endure.

As parents, to sit and have to watch your child die slowly in pain and discomfort is a memory we hope time will heal.

We can't let Harry die without doing something to try and ensure other little Harrys don't go through the same thing. One of Harry's favourite expressions during chemotherapy was: Let's just get it done.

In honour of Harry's let's just get it done spirit let's raise some money to beat this awful disease and give future children and their families hope.

Thank you. Love Charlotte, James and Harry x

About the charity

We raise money solely to support The Royal Marsden, a world-leading cancer centre. From funding state-of-the-art equipment and ground-breaking research, to creating the very best patient environments, we will never stop looking for ways to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.

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