Local care home provider Orchard Care Homes, which operates five specialist homes in Sunderland, was the primary sponsor for The Bradley Lowery Cup 2021 football match, in support of the fight against rare forms of childhood illnesses.
The Bradley Lowery Foundation was established in August 2017 after six-year-old Bradley Lowery lost his fight to Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer.
The charity aims to support families who are fundraising for treatment or equipment, for all illnesses and conditions, which are not readily available or covered by the NHS.
This year, The Bradley Lowery annual football fundraiser was in aid of six-year-old Oliver from Sunderland. Earlier this year, Oliver was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma and is currently undergoing frontline treatment at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. Unfortunately, Neuroblastoma has a high relapse rate meaning there is a high risk that Oliver’s cancer will return again in the future.
The football match, which took place on 14th August at Silksworth Sports Complex in Sunderland, aimed to raise £230,000 for a vaccine, only available abroad, which is designed to reduce the chances of Oliver’s cancer returning.
Gemma Lowery, Bradley’s Mum, first started fundraising in 2013 to raise money to get Bradley treatment in the USA, which was not available in the UK. The campaign was very successful and with the support of thousands of generous people, raised over £1.3m. This money not only provided Bradley with his treatment but also provided the funding base for the Lowery Foundation, which supports families year-on-year. Gemma said, “Having the foundation has given me a purpose. I know that Brad would be so proud to see how many children his name is able to help. He has left a lasting legacy and I know that although he was only with us for a short time, with his strength and determination, he has changed the lives of many. I am so proud of my little boy – he inspires me every day to keep fighting for the families we support.”
Whilst supporting research into Neuroblastoma and childhood cancers, the charity is also developing plans to support a £600,000 holiday home in Scarborough and runs a support line for the families of children with cancer in the North East. Jack Murray, Founder of Lowery’s Lads Football Team, knows first-hand of the work Orchard does for those they take care of. He said “My Grandmother came out of a well-earned retirement to go and work in one of Orchard’s facilities and the hard work I saw, not only from her but from the amazing staff as well, continues to astound me to this day. Even before COVID-19 hit, my Gran and the staff worked tirelessly around the clock to make sure standards stayed at the highest level. You’d struggle to find a more comfortable environment for your loved one than an Orchard Care Home.”
Orchard’s CFO, Deborah Johnson and Operations Director for North East, Jackie Murray, also attended the football match to share the support of the wider organisation and see the players in their newly designed, Orchard Care Homes sponsored kits.
Hayden Knight, CEO of Orchard Care Homes commented on the sponsorship and said “Orchard Care Homes is proud to be the principal event sponsor for 2021. We pride ourselves on being at the heart of the community and what better way to show that than to support such a heart-warming cause.”