Leading Dorset law firm, Trethowans, has purchased a bike worth over £500 on behalf of a local 16-year-old brain tumour survivor who is set to carry out a 150-mile charity bike ride this summer.
On the 9-11 July, Jamie White who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in January 2020 just three days after his 15th birthday, is set to embark upon a journey from Poole Hospital to Southampton General Hospital via Yeovil and back to Bournemouth.
The Smile4Jamie South Coast Bike Challenge will raise money for vital equipment and research into brain tumours on behalf of Smile4Wessex, a charity which provides financial support for the Wessex Neurological Centre responsible for Jamie’s life-saving surgeries. A contribution will also be made to heart muscle charity, Cardiomyopathy UK, in memory of Jamie’s first PE teacher at secondary school.
Jamie’s devastating diagnosis came after he collapsed during a football game. When scans revealed that a brain tumour was pressing on his spine, he was rushed into an emergency 11-hour operation at the Wessex Neurological Centre, followed by a further five-hour emergency surgery four weeks later.
The operations left Jamie with weakness, mobility issues and visual problems, but despite facing a long road to recovery he remained positive with one aim in mind – to return to his normal life and to football at the beginning of the new season in September.
However, just as Jamie started to increase his time back at school, the Coronavirus hit and the world went into lockdown. It was during this time that Jamie was told that he could lightly kick a ball again.
Jamie’s mum Mandy said: “The second question he asked the surgeon was whether he could ride a bike. He was delighted when the answer was yes and completed a 30-mile round trip to Sandbanks that day.”
In July last year, six months after his initial diagnosis, Jamie and his family received the incredible news that the surgery had been a success and he was given the all-clear.
Jamie's mum continued: “Words cannot describe our feelings. The Jamie we all love will be growing into a fine young man with the future he wants ahead of him. He now wants to use his experience and positivity to raise awareness of tumours and brain trauma in young people and the impact it has on them, their family, and friends. I’d like to thank Trethowans for its support, and also Jamie’s school, Glenmoore and Winton Academy, which has some charity events coming up soon.”
The Smile4Jamie fund was started by Jamie’s older brother and cousin on Facebook gaining support from local celebrities, premiership team players and strangers who have all donated toward Jamie’s ride.
James Braund, personal injury partner at Trethowans, said: “Jamie is a truly inspirational chap, and we are incredibly proud to be able to support him on his fantastic challenge. At Trethowans, our personal injury work means that we see first-hand the effect a brain injury can have on a person’s life and the Wessex Neuro at Southampton Hospital plays a vital part in recovery and rehabilitation.”
Unfortunately, the second wave of the pandemic brought more tragedy for Jamie as he himself contracted the Coronavirus, testing positive on 9 January 2021 – a year to the day of his tumour diagnosis. Sadly two weeks later, Jamie lost his grandad to the virus.
Kathryn Grimes, community fundraising officer, Smile4Wessex: “We are totally in awe of Jamie taking on this challenge after everything he has been through in the past 18 months. His incredible determination to get back to full fitness and his desire to give something back to the Wessex Neurological Centre by raising funds for Smile4Wessex is inspiring, and he should be very proud of himself.”
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