A Wibsey teenager battling a rare form of bone cancer will be jetting off to New York thanks to well-wishers who have been making his dreams come true.
When doctors told 15-year-old Connor Lancaster his cancer had returned and was terminal, he decided to live his life to the fullest and drew up a wish-list.
News of the list reached Buttershaw Business & Enterprise College, where he is a pupil, and the community, spurring on a remarkable army of fundraisers. Thanks to their efforts, he has lots to look forward to in 2014 as he continues to fight his condition.
Connor, of Folly Hall Road, who earlier this year received a Prince’s Trust award for keeping up his education despite his illness, had meningitis when he was two-weeks-old which effected his mobility and left him partially-sighted, then he was diagnosed with cancer last Christmas.
Despite going into remission after chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, it returned. His latest treatment is shrinking the tumour in his pelvis, but doctors have said the cancer will not go away.
So far Connor’s bucket list has seen members of a slimming club donate two-and-a-half-stones of chocolate to fulfil one of his wishes of having a year’s supply, he has got tickets to see Charlie and The Chocolate Factory in London’s West End, he will be taking controls of a small plane and will feed fish at The Deep. He has already spent a day at a Dog’s Trust charity where he had a puppy named after him.
There are tickets lined up for the Alhambra theatre when War Horse comes to Bradford in May, a day is planned at a wildlife park in Cumbria and an indoor skydiving session is earmarked, as well as a trip to Monkey World in Dorset and a break with his mum and grandma to Jersey.
Top chef Heston Blumenthal has arranged for him to get a signed copy of his book and a goody bag when he visits his Golden Hind restaurant, and there are hopes to get him tickets for a Linkin Park gig when the band comes to the UK.
But it is the New York trip, scheduled for May, that will top the list says his mum Julie, 37, who said the support had been “overwhelming”.
She said: “The kindness of strangers and of friends has meant so much to us and has been a real tonic for Connor, who is determined to live life to the max.
“The good news is that the cancer has not spread, but there is a big question mark over how long he has got. We’re not thinking about that, we’re thinking about everything he’s got to look forward to.
“I would never have been able to do even half of those things for Connor on his list. Without all these wonderful people, it just never would have happened.”
As well as Buttershaw Business & Enterprise College, help has come from Wibsey wedding planner Joanne Brophy and her friend Julie Williams who organised events bringing in more than £3,000.
Donations have come from The Shoulder of Mutton pub and The Dolphin in Clayton, public service provider Amey helped put on a charity day at Connor’s school making more than £1,500 and “a complete stranger” handed over a cheque for £100 to the teenager saying “have some fun on me.”