A young cancer sufferer from Cupar is ‘over the moon’ after a charity event was saved thanks to the magic of social media .
Toby Etheridge (10) was heartbroken when his fund-raising ‘Magical Ball’ planned for March 5 was threatened with cancellation due to poor ticket sales.
Toby’s parents, Alison and Richie, had been given some amazing raffle prizes but were faced with handing them all back after selling only 17 tickets.
However news of their plight spread and thanks to the power of social media they sold more than 100 tickets in the space of a weekend - including two to sports presenter Gabby Logan, who heard about Toby’s disappointment through Twitter.
The story about Toby’s Magical Ball was first reported in the Fife Herald and picked up by several national newspapers and shared via Facebook as well as Twitter.
“It was tweeted and re-tweeted and before I knew it I was doing interviews on radio and TV,” said Toby’s mum Alison.
“It was absolutely bonkers. All that weekend we were not only inundated with requests for tickets but also showered with offers of donations.
“It shows that there are some kind-hearted people out there .
“Toby is absolutely thrilled to bits that the ball is going ahead.”
The event, which is being held in Cupar’s Corn Exchange, is in aid of CLIC Sargent, which supports children and young people with cancer and their families.
Since Toby was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia just before Christmas 2014, the charity has provided a vital lifeline to the Etheridge family, offering practical, emotional and even financial help while their precious son underwent gruelling therapy.
The evening promises to be a memorable one, with a set menu prepared by the 2014 Masterchef professional champion chef Jamie Scott; music from the Rogue Traders , table magic from Jamie the Jester and an array of raffle prizes and auction items.
Jamie himself plans to be there and has a surprise up his sleeve for the guests.
As well as raising money for CLIC Sargent, the family hopes to raise awareness of the charity too.
“Not many people realise just how much CLIC Sargent does for children and young people with cancer,” said Alison.
“From the momenToby was diagnosed they were there for us.
“We have a superb outreach nurse and a social worker who’s helped with things like getting a disabled badge for the car, and from day one we were given a room in the CLIC villa near the Sick Kids Hospital where we could stay while Toby was being treated.
“We were even sent a cheque for £175 to help with parking and petrol costs.
“It’s only when you’ve been on the receiving end of CLIC Sargent’s support that you realise how much vital work its staff and volunteers actually do.”
Meanwhile Toby is continuing to have oral chemotherapy at home and attends hospital regularly to have chemo in his spine.
He was due to return to St Columba’s Primary in Cupar on Wednesday on a part-time basis, having suffered a setback in the form of a bout of pneumonia.
Tickets for the ball are available through MP Stephen Gethins’ constituency office in Bonnygate or Toby’s Magical Journey Facebook page.