Links Golf Club, Newmarket raises £10,000 for Izzy’s Trike

Links Golf Club, Newmarket raises £10,000 for Izzy’s Trike

Links Golf Club 2020 Ladies Captain, Naomi Pilmer and 2022 Ladies Captain, Dianne Parr presented GeeWizz Charity a cheque for an astounding £10,000.

Funds were raised as part of 2020 Captains’ Naomi Pilmer and Mike Panes Charity of the Year by which Links Golf Club members enjoyed Charity Golf Days and a silent auction as part of their “Captains Charity Week”. The Auction had lots kindly donated from local businesses, Newmarket Link Golf Club Members, and neighbouring golf clubs, and included signed books, vouchers, golf lessons, a morning with Newmarket trainer Rae Guest and a pair of breeches signed by jockeys. Naomi and Mike also arranged many fun charity activities such as, 9 Hole Texas Scramble, an 18 Hole Challenge, and The Greenkeepers Revenge Competition.

A special thanks goes to Charity Champions Naomi Pilmer, Mike Panes, and Dianne Parr, for organising the fundraisers and for their continued support. Thanks to the amazing fundraising efforts by Newmarket Links Golf Club, GeeWizz will be funding a new Trike for Isobel Sheppard.

Suffolk teenager, Isobel Sheppard, was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma, a type of soft tissue Sarcoma, in February 2020 when she was just 12 years old. Izzy was sent home from school due to the pain in her leg and was diagnosed with Sarcoma two weeks later. She has received chemotherapy and undergone surgeries, including an amputation of her leg, as part of her treatment. GeeWizz have support Izzy in the past with smartCRUTCH & Elbow Crutches.

Newmarket Links Golf Club’s fundraising efforts will fund a new trike for Izzy, that will enable her to carry on with what she enjoys doing best with her family. This trike will be a unique handcycle designed to tackle off-road conditions and provide opportunities to get to places that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Sarcomas are uncommon cancers that can affect any part of the body, on the inside or outside, including the muscle, bone, tendons, blood vessels, and fatty tissues. In the UK, 15 people are diagnosed with sarcoma every day. That’s about 5,300 people a year. Synovial sarcoma is a type of soft tissue sarcoma, you can read more information here, at Sarcoma UK.

Izzy’s mum, Samantha Sheppard, has shared her experience with her daughter’s rare cancer:

‘Isobel started complaining of numbness in the top of her right leg sometime between Christmas and New Year, but we thought it was growing pains. She did have some swelling in her leg which I thought was most likely from a previous injury.’

‘A few days later she started limping a bit and I still didn’t think it was anything too serious, she was 12, and to be honest, I thought she might just be putting it on a bit. Shortly after she rang home from school saying she was in too much pain to keep going with her lessons, so we brought her home and made a GP appointment for that evening.’

‘The GP didn’t know what it could be, so sent us to the hospital where we went through A&E. The doctors there didn’t know what it was either and by now her leg was really swollen. That’s when we started to realise there might be something more to this.’

‘They sent her for an ultrasound and said that it could be a blood clot so sent her up to a ward and prescribed her blood thinners. Once she was on the ward the consultant was asking all kinds of questions about what could have caused it, such was could it have been a cat scratch. No one could work out what was going on, so she was transferred to Addenbrookes Hospital for some more tests. At this point the possibility of it being a tumour had been mentioned but so had so many other things that we didn’t take it too seriously.’

‘At Addenbrookes Isobel had a CT scan and was moved over to Oncology and by that point we’d sort of worked out what might be happening. We were originally told it was lymphoma (a type of blood cancer) and that treatment would begin immediately. It was only after she’d had all her lines put in and was ready to go that the results of the biopsy came back, and we were told they weren’t sure what type of tumour it was after all.’

‘A few days later we found out that it was synovial sarcoma, a type of soft tissue sarcoma. At this point there were lots of treatment options being discussed, such as going abroad to America or Germany for Proton Beam Therapy (a type of radiotherapy), as well as surgery and chemotherapy.’

‘She was doing really well with chemo when we found out that she would need to have her leg amputated. It came as a real shock, but Isobel was so incredible. She kept herself together throughout the appointment and just seemed to get on with it. It was only when we got outside that she let go and allowed herself to be upset.’

‘We had nearly 8 weeks to get used to the idea of it, but it was still a complete shock when it finally happened. I felt numb, we’d been considering so many other treatment options that an amputation was the furthest thing from my mind.'

‘There was no way to save her leg. The tumour was wrapped around her nerves and blood supply, so an amputation was the only way to go.’

‘Of course, all of this was happening just as Covid-19 and lockdown were coming into force and that has brought with it its own round of stress. It’s been really hard for me and my husband to not be able to be next to her for everything that’s happened, there has been times when only one of us has been able to be on the ward with her. The main thing that it has stolen is the opportunity for us to connect as a family with other families going through this awful journey with cancer. Isobel hasn’t been able to make friends with anyone in a similar situation to her and we haven’t had the chance to connect with other parents of children with rare cancers. That’s been hard and it makes you feel more alone.’