Eight year-old Jess Shepherd, who goes to Harefield Primary School and lives in Ruislip, has been fighting a rare childhood cancer on and off since she was three.
Although it went into remission spontaneously, it came back on 28 December 2013.
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Beautiful princesses, Jess and Mia ?? pic.twitter.com/g97hSzW6dW— Help Jess Beat Boris (@jessboris8) 19 April 2016
She named her tumour Boris and thereafter the Help Jess Beat Boris campaign sprung into action.
Friends and supporters have been organising many events to help raise money to fund treatments being trialled in America which are not available in the UK.
Jess met MP Boris Johnson at the civic centre this week (22 May)
Jess's family, including Taylor, her brother, and Mia, her sister, told Hillingdon is Here that she has shown huge strength and determination in her fight.
In a joint family statement they said: “Jess has shown great strength of character during the past three years. She was very upset to be told that her tumour 'Boris' had returned for the fourth time in February this year.
“At eight years old she understands the implications of this diagnosis and was quite cross for a couple of days after diagnosis.
“This did not last long, and she now wants to beat Boris up. She will tell you that she doesn't worry about her cancer, because that is nanny's job. She knows that her hair will fall out again, but she also knows it will grow back after treatment.
“She is a very determined little girl, she tries to attend school as often as she can, and lives life to it's fullest, she is a happy, confident and very intelligent child, and she deals with all her treatment in a positive manner.”
People in the Harefield area have been touched by her story and have set about helping Jess.
The youngster's family said they feel “very humbled by the the way so many people have come forward to support us”.
They said: “Thank you never seems to be enough, but it comes from the bottom of our hearts, we are truly grateful to everyone who has taken Jess to their hearts and are giving time, effort and money to give Jess every chance at survival.”
Already, Jess has undergone chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy and Retinoic Acid, and stem cell transplant.
Family friend Nicola Conroy said: “The Harefield community has really pulled together as this little girl has touched a lot of hearts. She is one very loved little girl.”
There is a Facebook page attached to the fundraising campaign. The family asked as many people with the name Jess, Jessica, Jessie and similar names to like the page and say hello. Jess herself checks this daily and loves to see if any more people have liked and said hello, her family said.
What's being done to help?
Events (see more at bottom of article)
- A Charity football match involving ex-Queens Park Rangers star Martin Rowlands and other former professionals on 28 May.
- There will be a family fun day held at the Harefield academy on 9 July with bouncy castles and soft play areas, face painting and a disco dome, small animal zoo, ponies, adopt a bear, raffle and much more to be confirmed between now and the date.
- There is a Disney Prince & Princess day on 21 May
- A Facebook page called Jess's pirates was set up by people who are holding events in Winchester for her.
- An event called Rockin for Jess takes place on 21 May
- A Zumba class with Jackie will be held at St Mary's Church hall on 14 May between 2pm and 3.30pm. All welcome including children.
- The team at Revive in Harefield gave their time freely to paint little girls' nails and they raised £200 from donations who over the Easter holidays.
- Eastcote Hockey Club raised £506 during their end of season presentation.
- Jess's teacher Mrs Rudge is set to run a marathon for her with all sponsorship going to her fund.
- The Harefield Academy raised over £500 on a cake sale and will be having a dress for Jess day along with the primary school on 29 April so all the children can get involved by wearing red or pink.
- A pamper parlour by a group of professionals raised £425 this week
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Come and Zumba for Jess, at St. Mary's Church Hall, Harefield, on 14th May ??? pic.twitter.com/6z14A7TZKq— Help Jess Beat Boris (@jessboris8) 19 April 2016