Sutton teen who is fighting cancer creates magical memories in Lapland

A Sutton teenager who was given a 30 percent chance of survival has been making magical memories with his family in Lapland.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 10th December 2018, 1:22 pm
Updated Monday, 10th December 2018, 2:25 pm
Sam Fradgley with Jacob Fradgley (16) and Leah Keighley (five) in Lapland (Image: Nottingham Post)
Sam Fradgley with Jacob Fradgley (16) and Leah Keighley (five) in Lapland (Image: Nottingham Post)

Jacob Fradgley and his family, along with 40 other families, flew to the Arctic Circle, courtesy of the When You Wish Upon A Star charity.

Jacob was diagnosed in May with metastatic ewing sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that had taken over several parts of his body.

The 16-year-old and his family felt "their world turned upside down".

Group picture taken in Lapland during trip for sick children (Image: Nottingham Post)

He was given a 30 percent chance of survival initially and has been going through extensive rounds of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to battle the cancer.

Jacob described the past seven months as "mayhem" but he has managed to find reasons to smile.

"I’ve met a lot of nice people at the hospital going through the same thing as me," he said.

He and his mum, Sam Fradgley, agreed that the staff at the QMC had been "absolutely amazing".

The GCSE student said his main reaction to the disease had been feeling very tired.

But he tries not to let it stop him from seeing his friends and attending school.

His mum first saw an advert for the Lapland trip on the ward at Queen’s Medical Centre.

The East Midlands-based charity has been flying families out to visit the North Pole for 28 years as well as granting thousands of wishes for sick children.

After meeting all the requirements and getting the approval of Jacob’s consultant, the family, including younger sister Leah Keighley, five, were able to make the trip.

Sam said: "Experiences like this are a blessing.

"To get to spend time together – quality time together – is so important."

Jacob added: "I just try to take each day as it comes to keep a bit of normality.

"This trip means we can just be together like a normal family."

The departures lounge at East Midlands Airport was alive with the spirit of Christmas, with special treats put on for all the children on the trip, including face paint and a magician.

The fun continued in the air with festive songs and jokes.

Upon landing, the first stop was a trip to the Magical Forest, where families could meet reindeer, ride snow mobiles and get pulled along by huskies.

While waiting for a visit from Father Christmas himself, Sam said: "It was all very overwhelming actually. Things like this just don’t happen to us!

"I couldn’t believe we were actually on snow mobiles"

Community fund-raiser Alexa Whigfield, took part in the trip for the second year running, but said she "knew what they were famous for" when she joined the charity.

She added that many volunteers were involved in the running of the day and one paramedic even chose to work on a day off.

She said: "It simply wouldn’t be possible without these people and the fundraisers that work year round to support the charity."

Jacob said the snow mobiles were a "definite favourite" although he wished he could have driven himself.

He added: "It’s really important to us because we would usually all be apart for one reason or another.

"At home we don’t spend much time together but I’ve really enjoyed today."

He had this advice for youngsters going through anything similar: "Don’t bottle things up. Talk to friends and people who know you."

Jacob’s final chemotherapy treatment will be on New Year’s Eve followed by a last round of radiation therapy on January 3, after which he will be on medication for nine months to keep the cancer at bay.

He said: "This Christmas I’m looking forward to not being in hospital for a few days and getting to spend more chill time with family, just playing games and relaxing."