The parents of a seriously ill Leeds girl have met a group of Big Issue in the North vendors to say a personal thank you for collecting for their daughter.
Kendal Middleton Jessop, four, is battling Neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer that needs specialist treatment only available in America – at a cost of £500,000.
So far their appeal has reached £230,000, and when Leeds vendors read of her plight in the local press they put their own money worries aside and began donating for her.
Vendor Garry, whose pitch is on Marks and Spencer’s in Leeds and is currently in a hostel, met Kendal for the first time with her parents and explained why he and his fellow vendors had wanted to give what they could.
Garry, who brought Kendal an Easter egg, said: I heard about Kendal through the Big Issue office, we’ve all been putting money in the pot. I just wanted to help; too many people take their health for granted.”
Kendal’s father Stuart has first had experience of being homeless himself and stayed in hostels when he was a teenager. He said: “For these homeless guys to do this, it really touched us. We wanted to come in and thank them personally.
Kendal’s mother Laine added:” It’s not about the amount, it’s the fact that they cared and they got together to do this.”
Via Kendal’s Just Giving page, the Leeds vendors have so far collected £184.
Regional Manager for The Big Issue in the North Yorkshire Patricia Fas said: “This is a wonderful act of kindness our vendors have shown. From the moment Kendal’s story came to their attention they have got behind her and shown amazing generosity and good spirit, reacting with compassion, kindness and humanity. It just goes to show how sometimes it’s the people with the least who are capable of giving the most.’’
Kendal’s father added: “Kendal doesn’t feel sorry for herself at all, although she doesn’t like the tube up her nose. We try and get on with life, but then suddenly it’ll hit you like a bolt of lightening that this is happening.”
Donate to Kendal via Just Giving through the charity Families Against Neuroblastoma at www.justgiving.com/KendalMiddletonJessopAppeal