Courageous Burnley schoolboy is asking people to give up clothes for life-saving research

Rayaan Zafran
Rayaan Zafran

A schoolboy from Burnley is urging people across Lancashire to clear out their wardrobes to help save more lives like his.

Six-year-old Rayaan Zafran, who was successfully treated for leukaemia, is supporting TK Maxx’s Give Up Clothes For Good campaign, in support of Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People.

Rayaan and his family are encouraging the public to help more children and young people survive cancer by donating any pre-loved quality clothing, accessories and homeware they no longer need to their nearest TK Maxx store.

When sold in Cancer Research UK shops, each bag of items donated could raise up to £30 to help fund dedicated research into children’s and young people’s cancers.

Rayaan is one of 190 youngsters in the North-West who are diagnosed with cancer every year. His family know first-hand how important research is in helping to save more lives.

The youngster, who lives in the Duke Bar area of Burnley with his mum Aneesa, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2016 when he was just two years old.

His nursery teacher had noticed he wanted to be by himself and was lying down a lot. Then his mum noticed he had a swollen stomach.

At Accident and Emergency, Rayaan started to develop red marks on his legs and the doctors initially thought he might have meningitis. But following tests Aneesa was given the devastating news that he had cancer.

Rayaan had to celebrate his third birthday in Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital – and has undergone intense chemotherapy treatment as well as bone marrow transplants and lumbar punctures with drugs administered via his spine under anaesthetic.

Due to the intense chemotherapy Rayaan had less strength in his legs and it meant he could not walk for a while which was really hard for him. He lost all of his hair. And due to so many steroids in his body as part of his treatment, he was also very moody and short tempered.

Rayaan and him mum were thrilled when he was given the all-clear from cancer over the summer. He is now enjoying life in Year Two of Barden Primary School with his friends.

Aneesa, aged 26, said: “When the doctor said, I am really sorry to tell you, but we think Rayaan has leukaemia. I was in denial and total shock as I was unaware of what leukaemia was. You hear about it, but you never really know what it is until your family is impacted by it.

"During Rayaan’s treatment he had to have a feeding tube fitted as well as a Hickman line to administer the chemotherapy drugs.

“However, he was always very brave and kept on smiling throughout the darkest of days. I was absolutely over the moon when Rayaan was finally given the all-clear over the summer. It’s thanks to research that Rayaan is here today.

"That’s why raising money for Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People is so important. Rayaan and I will be having a good clear out at home and finding clothes and items to donate to our local TK Maxx store.

"I hope everyone in Lancashire will get behind this vitally important campaign and turn something they no longer need into funds for such a fantastic cause.”

Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Lancashire, said: “More children and young people than ever are surviving cancer. But there’s still so much more to do.

“Cancer in children and young people is different to cancer in adults – from the types of cancer to the impact of treatment and the long-term side effects survivors often experience. So, it needs different, dedicated research which campaigns like Give Up Clothes For Good help to fund.

“Cancer still claims the lives of around 510 under 25s in the UK every year. We want to help more children and young people in Lancashire and across the UK, survive cancer with a good quality of life.

“That’s why we hope as many people as possible will show their support and donate any quality clothes or goods to their local TK Maxx store. Unwanted items really could save lives.”

TK Maxx is the biggest corporate supporter of Cancer Research UK’s work into children’s and young people’s cancers. Since 2004, the retailer has raised more than £32.5 million to help improve survival.

Give Up Clothes For Good is one of the UK’s longest running clothes collection campaigns. It also provides an environmental benefit through the re-use and recycling of goods.

People can donate at any TK Maxx store, all year round, including Church Street in Burnley and Glen Mills Retail Park in Colne.

Supporters can also help raise funds by wearing a gold ribbon badge – the awareness symbol of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – available from TK Maxx and Cancer Research UK stores throughout September.

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