THOUGHTFUL pet shop bosses have pledged to raise money to help a family buy a headstone for a two-year-old who died from cancer.
Little Leighton Sadler lost a battle with non-Hodgkin’s T cell lymphoma just two weeks after his second birthday.
His devoted mum, Tasha Chaffey, 20, appeared in the Mail last week describing how the tragedy had left her and her partner, Leighton’s dad, Rikki Sadler, 20, distraught.
The family is campaigning to raise money to buy a headstone for Leighton’s grave, at Stranton Cemetery.
Kind-hearted staff at the Metaquatics pet shop in Stockton Road, where Tasha is a customer, have pledged to help raise money for the monument.
The store has arranged a raffle, with proceeds going towards paying for Leighton’s gravestone.
Chris Cannell, 38, who runs the shop with Joanna Swales, 33, said: “Tasha is one of our customers. We used to see Leighton regularly.
“He was a happy-go-lucky baby, even when he was poorly, he always had a smile on his face and was always laughing.
“He loved the clown fish and marine fish.
“We were absolutely devastated ourselves when we heard he had passed away, we had looked forward to seeing him and his brother growing up.”
Tasha, of Whitfield Drive, Hartlepool, said: “It’s brilliant that the shop has thought of us. We all think it’s a lovely gesture.”
Leighton passed away on July 8.
He was cremated, but the family plan to put some of his ashes into the heart of a build-a-bear toy and have it interred at Stranton Cemetery.
Tasha, who is also mum to 11-month-old Ashton Sadler, said a sponsored 10-mile walk held last weekend from Peterlee to Hartlepool to raise money for a gravestone, a plot, a tree, flower-holders and various ornaments took three hours 50 minutes.
The money is still being counted and the campaign is ongoing.
Toy Story-mad Leighton was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s T cell lymphoma when he was just 16-months-old.
He endured 12 operations and 35 transfusions in his short life and was plagued with infections and various viruses.
Since last week’s article, a kind-hearted Mail reader, who wants to remain anonymous, has set up a website, www.leightonsadler.org.uk where people can pledge money for the grave.
People can also donate by calling Tasha’s mum, Denise Chaffey, on (01429) 298115.
The raffle, at Metaquatics, runs from this Monday until Saturday, September 3.
Tickets are £1 a strip and people can win prizes including fish tanks, a car valet and wash worth £60, supermarket vouchers, and a voucher to spend at fancy dress shop Incognito.