A local hair salon owner is hosting a fundraising event to raise money for a fund set up in memory of 14 year old Frank Ashton from Harrogate, who died just three months ago from Ewing sarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer. Dacres is just one local business backing Frank’s fund with a donation to the charity. Senior Associate Nick Alcock, who is the branch manager at Dacres in Knaresborough, said: “Frank and his family have been through so much. It’s such a devastating disease and it’s great to see so many people and businesses in Knaresborough, Harrogate and beyond helping.”
Andrea Bristow, who runs ‘Not Just Hair’ on the High Street is staging a ‘hair-athon’ continually styling hair for 16 hours from 8am until midnight on 25th May 2019. Andrea’s daughter was at Pannal Primary School with Frank.
Andrea said: “All money raised will be donated to Frank’s Fund, our neighbouring barber has also offered to cut men’s hair as part of the fundraiser. With a raffle, drinks and snacks generously provided by Tilly Peppers in Harrogate, we will also be welcoming Emmerdale’s Claire King to the salon at midday. Every penny donated will go to the fund and we want to encourage as many people as possible to come down on the day.”
Frank’s mum, Louise Ashton, said: “All the money will go directly towards lifesaving research into Ewing sarcoma. Frank would never have wanted any child to suffer as he suffered. If his death is to have any meaning at all, it needs to help people who are diagnosed in the future by raising funds that can be invested in much needed research.”
Ewing sarcoma most commonly affects children and young adults aged 10-25 years old and makes up about 1.5% of all childhood cancers. A child, teenager or adult is diagnosed with primary bone cancer every 10 minutes, but Louise added: “Treatment protocols are out of date and gruelling. It’s a scandal that the lack of investment means that . Our children and young people deserve better than this.”
Frank was diagnosed in April 2016, just as he was looking forward to the next phase in his life at secondary school at St. Aidan’s CE High School, he was just 11 years old. Over the next 12 months he underwent 14 exhausting cycles of chemotherapy, 2 months of proton therapy in the US and a horrific 8 hour operation to remove the tumour and a substantial part of his pelvis. Louise added: “We knew we had to be strong for Frank but it worked the other way round too. His positivity, resilience and amazing character kept us all going through some very tough times. His raw courage in learning to walk again after his operation and the way he quietly got about rebuilding his life and getting back to school were awe inspiring.”
In September 2017, after just 5 months in remission, the disease returned. Louise said: “Frank was confronted with further endless cycles of chemotherapy and radiotherapy with just a tiny chance that it could cure him. Somehow he found the strength to keep going and the spirit to remain cheerful. He just wanted to behave and be treated like any other teenage boy. If anyone asked him how he was feeling they always received the same answer, ‘I’m good thanks’, accompanied by a huge grin. We enjoyed a brilliant Christmas together but by the middle of January 2019 Frank’s health was failing fast. Our beautiful boy’s short life ended on February 9We are left devastated but immensely proud.
“We can’t thank Andrea and all the other people who have rallied round to raise awareness and money for Frank’s Fund enough. The only way to move things forward is to fund more research – it’s vital we act now.”
A series of further fund raising events are scheduled to take place throughout the rest of the year with a comedy night planned for September. To donate to Frank’s fund visit https://www.bcrt.org.uk/franksfund or text BCRT FRANK to 70800 to donate £5