THIS September – Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – a schoolgirl from Somerset is urging people across the county to clear out their wardrobes to help save more lives like hers.

Keeleigh Bryant, who lives in Monkton Heathfield, has successfully been treated for Wilms’ Tumour – a cancer which affects the kidneys.

The 10-year-old, a pupil at West Monkton Primary School, went through cancer treatment in 2017 and became the face of the south west campaign to encourage people to donate their unwanted clothes to charity through TK Maxx stores.

Now, Keeleigh is again backing Give Up Clothes for Good campaign, in support of Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People following the end of her treatment.

Keeleigh and her family are encouraging the public to help more children and young people survive cancer by donating any pre-loved quality clothing, accessories and homeware they no longer need to their nearest TK Maxx store.

For many, the extra time spent at home during the COVID-19 outbreak has provided an opportunity to focus on de-cluttering - which can now be put to good use.

When sold in Cancer Research UK shops, each bag of items donated could raise up to £25 to help fund research into children’s and young people’s cancers.

Keeleigh is one of around 80 children in the UK who are diagnosed with Wilms’ tumour every year. Her family know first-hand how important research is in helping more children and young people survive cancer.

Mum Sarah, explained: It’s thanks to research that Keeleigh is here today. That’s why raising money for Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People is so important – especially as the coronavirus pandemic has hit charities so hard.

“Keeleigh and I will be having a good clear out at home and finding clothes and items to donate to our local TK Maxx store. I hope everyone in Somerset will get behind this vitally important campaign and turn something they no longer need into funds for such a fantastic cause.”

Following her treatment, Keeleigh has been entering show-jumping competitions with her pony Gally and has won various medals and accolades, which has boosted her confidence.

Somerset County Gazette:

WINNING: Keeleigh on her horse

Now in Year six, her final year of junior school, she is doing really well and has just finished her final scans this year.

More children are surviving cancer than ever before, thanks in large part to the work of Cancer Research UK. But, cancer still claims the lives of around 510 under 25s in the UK every year.

Alison Birkett, a spokesperson for Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People, said: “We’re grateful to the Bryant family for their support during these unprecedented times.

“The truth is COVID-19 has slowed us down, but we will never stop.

“Cancer in children and young people is different to cancer in adults – from the types of cancer, to the impact of treatment and the long-term side effects survivors often experience. That’s why it needs different, dedicated research which campaigns like Give Up Clothes for Good help to fund.”

TK Maxx is the biggest corporate supporter of Cancer Research UK’s work into children’s and young people’s cancers. Since 2004, the retailer has raised more than £37m to help improve survival.

Jo Murphy, assistant vice president of corporate responsibility at TK Maxx, said: “We’re making every effort to ensure that people can donate safely, so we can keep transforming their pre-loved items into vital funds.

People can donate at any TK Maxx store, all year round.