Brad’s legacy burns brightly

Tracy Downes pictured with her late son's Hip Hop hoodie.
Tracy Downes pictured with her late son's Hip Hop hoodie.
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THE family of a tragic schoolboy who lost a brave fight against cancer have sought comfort from donating thousands of pounds in his memory to worthy causes.

Bradley Downes lost his two-and-a-half-year battle with the disease aged just 10 years old on March 27, 2009.

In the months before he died, his mum and dad, Tracy and Gary Downes, set up a fund in their son’s name and held various charity events to raise money to fund anything to do with Bradley’s treatment or medical travel costs.

They managed to raise £15,000 with the help of people in Hartlepool.

But after only dipping into the pot to send the poorly youngster to London’s Harley Street hospital, the Downes’ decided to help others with the cash they had raised following Bradley’s death.

Tracy, 41, a foster carer, of Frensham Drive, in Hartlepool, said: “I just wanted to help other people in similar situations with the money we had managed to raise.

“I suppose I felt, and still feel, guilty that I couldn’t help Bradley, so it’s nice to see other people getting some good use out of the money.

“You just want to make them happy and to feel that whatever the outcome, you’ve helped a little bit.”

So far the Downes’ have donated:

l £1,000 to the Get Mitchell to America campaign – a fundraiser set up to send cerebral palsy sufferer Mitchell Spencer, 12, from Hartlepool, to the USA to have surgery on his legs;

l£500 to the Becky Bell Appeal to send the late schoolgirl, who died of a brain tumour in January last year, to DisneyLand;

l £750 for a helmet for a town boy with special needs;

l £1,600 to the Mail’s Make a PACT campaign which paid for two tricycles for a self-help group for children with a range of serious illnesses;

l £500 to a little boy who needed a specially-adapted bedroom;

l £500 to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary children’s cancer ward;

l £500 for a boy suffering with cancer;

l £1,000 to Josh Dawson, who is suffering an ependymoma - a tumour of the brain’s support cells - to send him on the trip of a lifetime;

l £1,000 to Bradley Lowery, aged just 20-months-old, of Blackhall, who has been struck down with a rare cancer;

l £1,000 to Leeds General Hospital Children’s ward;

l £1,500 to help the family of tragic baby Ava Turnbull who lost her fight against leukaemia in 2010, aged just 10 months.

The family have £4,000 left in Bradley’s kitty and when that has been donated to further good causes they are unsure whether they will carry on raising further cash.

Tracy, also mum to 11-year-old Niamh, showed her support for her son’s idols Ruff Diamondz when she went along to the Got To Dance 
final in V-Bar, on Hartlepool’s Marina nine days ago, as Bradley was taught hip hop by the group’s Zac Healey.

She said: “Bradley loved Zac and loved the hip hop classes. Zac gave Bradley some happy memories, and had fun until he could not do it any longer.”

l Mail view: Page 8