Ten-year milestone for H-Stock
Andy Whitt remembers the moment he was told his baby daughter had cancer like it was yesterday.
A sense of panic washed over him, followed by sheer devastation and heartbreak.
“Nothing prepares you for the devastating news that your baby is unwell, it’s like a dagger to the heart. All you want to do is wrap them up and keep them safe, but you’re helpless.”
Nine-month-old Molly had been diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumour – a type of kidney cancer that affects children. Kidney cancer in children is rare but this is the most common type they can get. Around 80 children are diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumour each year in the UK.
Molly needed surgery to remove the tumour and then underwent an aggressive course of chemotherapy to try and prevent the return of any cancer cells.
Dad Andy, of Wilmot Street in Heanor, said it was an extremely tough time, but support from a local charity helped the family through.
He said: “We were so well looked after in the hospital by The Parents Association for Seriously Ill Children (PASIC), and I knew that eventually when Molly had recovered we needed to do something to thank them for their hard work and support.”
Luckily she did make a full recovery, and Andy, 51, got stuck into fundraising.
“I started out by collecting donations on the streets, shaking tin cans and hoping for petty cash. It was a good start, but we wanted to do more.
“I used to be in a band years ago and had a light bulb moment – I should combine my love of music with a charity fundraiser.
“I knew a lot of musicians and bands from my time on the circuit and reached out to a few to see if they would be interested in performing at a charity event.
“Luckily, they agreed, we booked Heanor Miners Welfare Club as the venue and dubbed the concert H Stock.”
That was back in 2006, and this year marks the tenth anniversary of H Stock, which has gone from strength to strength.
“It just snowballed from there. Over the years we have roped several regulars into playing and have moved venues to accommodate for the growing audience.
“The support we have received has been amazing, especially for such a small place, but it shows you how a community can unite for a good cause.”
“We have raised more than £15,000 for PASIC over the decade and we have no plans to stop now.”
The Parents Association for Seriously Ill Children (PASIC) provide financial and social support to families of young people and children who have been diagnosed with, or are receiving treatment for life threatening illness such as cancer, leukaemia and brain tumours at the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham.
This year, H Stock 10 (the H stands for Heanor) event will be held on Saturday, November 19, at Shipley Working Mens Club in Marlpool.
There is a musical treat for everyone with acoustic, rock, blues, and an Oasis tribute band.
The Spitfires are set to headline the event, with performances from These Wicked Rivers, Twisted Biscuit, Sandphly, Richie Blount and more.
Doors open at 4pm and finishes at 12pm. There will also be a raffle on the night.
Andy added: “We appreciate all the help we can get, it is a cliché, but every little really does help.
“The cause is so close to my heart. Sitting there with Molly all those years ago was a real eye opener. You don’t realise what goes on behind the walls of the hospital until you’re in a situation like that. Luckily our little girl survived and went on to live a healthy life but many others are not so lucky. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but the support from PASIC helps guide them through like it did us.”