Hundreds of well-wishers send Sutton toddler paper hearts for ‘last birthday’

Dawson Willcock in hospital with parents David and Wendy. Photo: Joseph Raynor.
Dawson Willcock in hospital with parents David and Wendy. Photo: Joseph Raynor.

The family of a seriously-ill Sutton toddler have asked well-wishers to send “paper hearts” as a surprise for what they fear could be his last birthday.

Dawson Willcock turns two next week, on Wednesday, September 20, reports the Nottingham Post.

He is suffering with a rare form of cancer - hepatoblastoma cancer and doctors have told his parents this could well be his last birthday.

So for the past month, supporters of the £500,000 ‘A Dollar For Dawson’ fundraising appeal have been asked to send their messages written on paper hearts inside envelopes marked “open on 20th”.

Sutton youngster Dawson will read these on his birthday, before having a party next weekend, and the messages will then be made into a keepsake.

Already an “overwhelming amount of envelopes” has been delivered - and people still have time to send more across.

Mum Wendy Willcock said: “The idea was to get paper hearts off people with little messages.

“We want to make them into a little book. We were going to give it to him on his 18th, but it’s unlikely we’ll be doing that now.

“It will be a bit of a keepsake for me really.

“We first asked about a month ago, and we’ve had quite a few already, probably over a hundred - and we’re picking up more every day.

“Dawson is not quite two years old yet so doesn’t quite understand what’s going on but we’re going to sit with him and open them all up on his birthday.

“Then we’re having a party - if he’s only going to have one more birthday he’s going to have a big one.”

Dawson was diagnosed with the rare form of liver cancer in January and an appeal was initially set up to raise £500,000 to fly to Cincinnati in the US for treatment.

So far more than £350,000 has been raised for the appeal, but now the money is unlikely to be spent on the American trip following a recent assessment by doctors.

Wendy said: “We’ve raised £351,000 but obviously we don’t know if that money’s going to be used on Dawson.

“Doctors are saying at the moment they think Dawson isn’t curable.

“We have accepted it to a certain extent, although we are still looking, pushing, trying to find something and we’re open for trials.

“But we want to leave a legacy from him for children with cancer.

“We plan to buy a holiday home for children and their families. We want to make a donation for research.

“And we want to help save lives of children. Some are only trying to raise 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 for treatment.”

To find out more about the appeal, visit www.adollarfordawson.co.uk
If you would like to send a heart to Dawson, you can find the address on the family’s Facebook page.