A boy who launched a campaign to give presents to sick children now needs help himself – after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Selfless eight-year-old Elliott Furse started the ‘Elliott Christmas Appeal’ which donates bags of toys to young patients.
He organised his campaign after coming up with the idea one year when he was making his list for Santa.
His family asked him to write a Christmas list but he said he wanted to help others instead of receiving the latest toys.
It has generated a “huge volume of toys” for the kids that were at the Royal Cornwall Hospital over the festive period.
But Elliot was rushed to hospital himself after he collapsed at home last weekend.
He is now awaiting surgery at Bristol Children’s Hospital to remove as much of the tumour as possible before he starts further treatment.
His family say it is too early for a prognosis but have paid tribute to Elliott’s compassion he launched his Christmas project in 2018.
Dad Christian, 36, of Gulval, Cornwall, said his son has always thought of others.
But now needed everyone’s support himself to help him get through his devastating diagnosis.
He said: “There are no other words to describe it, other than utterly devastating.
“Elliott has done a fundraiser for his local hospital for the last couple of years and has always been very kind, caring and thoughtful to others.
“No child deserves what Elliott has and he has always thought of others before him which makes it especially hard.
“He is now in the position of those he was helping before and he can at least see the world of good he has done.”
Christian said they became worried when they noticed Elliott had started being more clumsy and would trip and stumble a lot more than children normally would.
They took him to the doctors who gave him a clean bill of health but his symptoms worsened.
He added: “On Saturday evening he got out of bed after a rest and he just collapsed. His body could not hold his weight or his neck up.
“We phoned 999 and an ambulance came and he was diagnosed with a suspected stroke. He was taken into Treliske Hospital for a CT scan and they found a brain tumour. From there things progressed very quickly and he was blue-lighted to Bristol Children’s Hospital.
“It was a huge bombshell and was hard to take in the gravity of it and almost go on to auto-pilot. But it is utterly devastating. A tumour of any sort is horrific especially in the brain. No eight-year-old deserves to be going through this.”
Elliott underwent an initial operation to drain the fluid from his brain.
Christian and wife Sam, 32, who run a wedding photography business, are now awaiting biopsy results and he is expected to undergo further surgery soon. Further treatment, including possible chemotherapy, may follow.
Christian added: “He is actually looking relatively healthy. He is a bit frail and has lost a bit of weight but otherwise looks quite well. But it is hard to think of this horrible thing inside his head.
“We can’t plan too far ahead. He is a positive and happy little fellow but this is taking its toll and it is daunting what is happening to him. It’s certainly getting him down.
“It is tough. We have always been very self-sufficient and are both self-employed and work from home. Elliott is our priority and we have to have someone with him at all times, but we also have to think about the other children.”
Elliott has organised his appeal for presents for the last two Christmases after coming up with the idea himself. It has generated a “huge volume of toys” for the kids that were in hospital over the festive period.
His classmates at Gulval School have now set up a fundraising page to help the family while they stay in Bristol to be near him.
It has so far raised more than £5,000.
He added: “Elliott has always done so much, but we did not realise until this happened how good the support effort was for him.
“One of the parents in his school set up the appeal and he has such lovely classmates.
“After what he did himself to help the the sick children in hospital his story really struck a chord and people have related to it.
“We are so overwhelmed by the support and can only thank everyone.”
During to coronavirus there is limited housing available for them to stay close to the hospital and the family are all staying in a nearby hotel.
Christian added: “We will find a way to stay close by and be there for Elliot every step of the way. The closest his siblings have been able to get is to wave at him through a window and it constantly feels like there is one missing.
“All they want to do is hug him.”
To donate visit – https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Teamorange-Elliott