The West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity is the largest UK Masonic charity outside the Grand Charities and anticipates making payments of £750,000 during the year to deserving causes. In addition to applications from members and their dependents, the charity also supports causes in the wider community such as Scouts and Guides, hospices, sports clubs and situations involving unique medical conditions.
When just such a situation emerged recently, involving a Kirkham based family’s plight, regional charity steward for the Fylde area groups, Ted Rhodes, was eager to become involved and assist in making a claim to the WLFC on their behalf. It involved the daughter of a very cheerful and efficient member of staff at Ted’s local bank, Kerry McCracken.
Scarlett McCracken, a 10 years old schoolgirl, was diagnosed with a brain tumour over four years ago and had to undergo a lifesaving operation at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Her family anticipated that this operation would remedy the situation. Unfortunately, active cells left from the operation have been placing pressure on Scarlett’s optic nerve, thus causing her eyesight to deteriorate so acutely that she must now travel to America for proton beam therapy to stop her going blind. One piece of good news was that CT scans have proven that the tumour hasn’t returned.
The NHS has provided £90,000 so that Scarlett can travel to America to receive this treatment but the family need funds to ensure that Scarlett’s mother can afford to travel and stay with her and it was for this purpose that an appeal fund was instigated. Scarlett’s family has arranged several fund-raising events to boost this fund and her dad, Lee, will be running a marathon to raise more money. They hope that many will donate by visiting their website at www.gofundme.com/kvzi90
Having presented Scarlett’s case to the decision makers at the WLFC, Ted was overjoyed to receive a very prompt decision that the charity would donate the sum of £1,000 to the appeal fund. A cheque presentation was duly arranged where Ian Ward, Chairman of the South Fylde Group attended to perform that happy task. Commenting afterwards, Ian said: “It is always a pleasure to support truly worthy causes in the community, of which this is undoubtedly an fine example.”
Scarlett thanked Ian and Ted profusely and her appreciation was echoed by her grandmother, Christine McCracken, who added that she couldn’t believe how quickly such a generous donation had been arranged. Scarlett now waits to discover which of two centres in America she must attend for treatment. It will mean travelling either to Oklahoma City or Jacksonville, Florida where these operations are performed.