Full steam ahead for fundraising walk.

Staff and students at Withernsea High School are helping to raise money for former student Josh Barnfather who is currently aiming to raise £100,000 to fund life-extending cancer treatment. 

On Wednesday 17th October, the school’s Year 12 cohort will take part in a sponsored walk from Withernsea to Hull which will follow the route of the old railway line, starting at the site of the town’s former station before finishing at Hull’s Paragon Interchange an estimated 7 hours later. Their aim is to cover as much of the original route as possible, with diversions around areas which have been lost to redevelopment since the closure of the line.

The walk will take place 54 years to the week that the final passenger service ran on 19th October 1964.

It is hoped that a sizable amount of money can be raised through sponsorship of the walk, which will directly go towards helping Josh achieve his fundraising target.

Around half a dozen staff will be accompanying the students on the walk. School Media Coordinator Tim Nuttall is one of them. Mr Nuttall commented: ‘We are delighted to offer our full support and help contribute towards the fundraising for Josh, alongside the many events and activities that have been organised in the local community and beyond.

Many of our staff remember Josh and his time at Withernsea High School with great affection and we extend our very best wishes to him and his family through a difficult time.’  
 
The up-coming sponsored walk will form part of a timetabled enrichment package that is delivered to students at the school’s Sixth Form. Launched last year, ‘Collapsed Afternoon Wednesday’ (CAW) offers students a range of experiences beyond their classrooms to help equip them with additional skills, experiences, knowledge and values.

Jamie Hughes, Teacher of Dance and CAW facilitator, commented: ‘Our Collapsed Afternoon Wednesday (CAW) sessions offer a bespoke enrichment curriculum for Year 12 students which is designed to enhance life skills and promote positive values through a variety of experiences.

These experiences include volunteering, building links with the community and fundraising.

Our up-coming fundraising walk is one of the many activities our students will participate in throughout the year ahead and we are delighted this activity will contribute towards Josh and his family achieving their fundraising target.’

In addition to the walk, donations from the school’s annual Mufti Day – where students pay a small amount to attend in non-uniform on the final day before the Christmas holidays – will also be donated to the fund.

Sponsorship forms are held by individual staff members and the students participating in the walk. However, if anyone would like to sponsor the team as a whole, they can do so through a collective sponsorship form which is available in the High School’s main office.

Donations

Anyone wishing to donate directly to the main fundraising appeal can do so through Josh's official Just Giving page - https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/joshua-barnfather

At the time of this article going live, £46,721 of the £100,000 has already been raised.

Black Tie Event

On Saturday 17th November, a Black Tie fundraising event will be held at Sand le Mere Holiday Park, Tunstall. Organised by some of Josh's school friends, the evening aims to raise as much money as possible through ticket sales, an auction and a raffle.

While tickets for the three course meal (£30 per head) have already sold out, a number of £10 tickets are still available which will grant guests access to the event from 9pm. From this time there will be live entertainment, a DJ and party games.

All ticket money will go directly to Josh's appeal.

For all ticket enquiries, or further information about the event, please contact Natalie Sellers via email at natalie.sellers@hotmail.co.uk

Josh's Story

Josh was born with the rare skin condition Xeroderma Pigmentosum.

This genetic disorder means his skin has a reduced ability to repair DNA damage, specifically that caused by Ultra Violet light.

Throughout his life, Josh has been forced to cover up during daylight hours - having to stay indoors wherever possible - adjusting his life and environment to protect his skin and overall health.

Despite his best efforts, he has developed several skin cancers over the course of his life that have been successfully treated without life-threatening impact; until now.

In February 2017, Josh was diagnosed with angiosarcoma - a cancer affecting the inner lining of the blood vessels.

After months of unsuccessful surgeries, chemotherapy, trial drugs and, most recently, radiotherapy targeting the lymph nodes in his neck, standardised treatments have been deemed ineffective.

Because of his unique characteristics as a Xeroderma Pigmentosum patient, specialists believe that the immunotherapy treatment, Pembrolizumab, could extend his life. However, this is not readily available on the NHS for angiosarcoma patients and costs around £100,000 per year.

Your generous contributions will help to fund these drugs, their administration and associated care.
ABOVE: Josh Barnfather (30) is aiming to raise £100,000 for life-extending treatment.