Brotherly love and Boogie Storm show Reece how to beat the dark side of a brain tumour
Reece Holt is currently undergoing treatment at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre after suddenly being diagnosed with a brain tumour. AASMA DAY finds out how the 10-year-old Star Wars fan was given a massive lift by Britain's Got Talent Stars Boogie Storm and how Reece and his brother had a sponsored headshave to raise money for the centre
When treatment for his brain tumour caused 10-year-old Reece Holt’s hair to start falling out, he decided he wanted to have it all shaved off rather than lose it gradually.
On hearing his brother’s plans, Reece’s younger brother Callum immediately piped up: “Can I have my hair shaved off, too, so people don’t stare at Reece for looking different as we will both look the same.”
Mum Rachel O’Neil of Overton, Morecambe, admits she was incredibly touched by nine-year-old Callum’s gesture.
Rachel, 39, explains: “We have hidden nothing from Reece with regards to his treatment and when his hair started falling out, we asked him what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to shave it off.
“Callum told us he wanted to have his hair shaved off, too, as a show of solidarity for his brother and this made me feel very touched and emotional.
“The headteacher Jill Milligan at Overton St Helen’s Primary School where the boys go was more than happy to make an exception so Callum could support his brother.
“Reece and Callum decided to do a sponsored headshave to raise money for Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and they had their hair shaved off during assembly with the whole school cheering them on.
“It was a really heartwarming experience and it changed Reece losing his hair from a negative thing to a really positive one. Mrs Milligan explained to all the children why the boys were doing this and that it wasn’t just for fun. It highlighted the seriousness of cancer to raise awareness in a kind and caring way so the children would understand going forward in life if they saw another person in future with no hair, not to point and laugh but understand and say a prayer for them.
“The headteacher Mrs Milligan has been absolutely amazing and we could not have asked for more support.
“In the true ethos of the school, children and teachers have been a caring, supportive family and even outside school in their own time, children have been raising money to help by washing cars, selling loom band bracelets and selling ice-creams in the park.
“It has been an amazing experience to see human nature and kindness at its finest in our next generation.”
Reece, who is a huge Star Wars fan, was also given a huge lift when Britain’s Got Talent sensations Boogie Storm brought the force to The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.
The dancing Storm Troopers from Liverpool visited the centre to meet Star Wars fans Reece and six-year-old Taylor Seddon, who is also receiving treatment for a brain tumour.
As a special treat for the boys and other patients, staff and visitors, Boogie Storm performed the famous routine which earned them the Gold Buzzer from Simon Cowell on the TV talent show.
After watching the show alongside his brother Callum, Reece said: “They were awesome. I loved it!”
Rachel says: “We can’t put into words how amazing that was. What Boogie Storm have done for the boys is wonderful. It was such a special moment for Reece and Taylor and Reece is still talking about it now. For Boogie Storm to come and perform for them was such a treat and really gave them a lift.”
Taylor, from Burscough, who also loves Star Wars Lego, was kitted out in his own Storm Trooper outfit for the day. His mum Jane says: “That was a few minutes that he will look back on for years and what he will remember about The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. Everyone here has been so kind and so supportive and this was the icing on the cake.”
Lee Seddon, the man behind Boogie Storm, heard about Taylor and Reece from staff and was determined to bring the Storm Troopers to The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre to meet the boys.
He says: “We found out they were massive Star Wars fans so we really wanted to come here to do this for them.
“It was great to meet them and we hope we have brought a bit of happiness into their lives for the day. Boogie Storm wanted to put a smile on their faces and I think we did that.”
Sarah Stead, paediatric specialist radiotherapist at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, says: “Having Boogie Storm here was a real boost for Taylor and Reece.
“Seeing their faces when the dance started was lovely.
“Children undergoing this type of treatment can spend a lot of time in different hospitals undergoing different types of procedures and treatments. We do everything we can do to make their experience here at Clatterbridge as good as possible and we hope this is something they will always remember.”
• Visit www.lep.co.uk to see a video of Boogie Storm’s amazing performance