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Builders band together to help family of Gillingham boy who has brain cancer

A strongman and a band of helpers have joined forces to transform the home of a little boy who has brain cancer.

George Dodgson, four, had to have emergency surgery after he fell down the stairs of his family home in Twydall, near Gillingham.

George Dodgson, four, cuddles his family
George Dodgson, four, cuddles his family

Doctors initially dismissed George's symptoms, telling his mother Kirsty it was likely he had an ear infection.

After receiving the news he had a tumour, tragedy struck again for the family of five when their house was damaged after a pipe burst while they were waiting for George to come out of surgery.

Some work was done to the house thanks to avid supporter of good causes Medway Spidey – otherwise known as John Scallion – who successfully appealed to contractors to help kick start repairs to the house after he visited the youngster in hospital dressed in his superhero garb.

Now charity fundraiser Rocky Troiani from Chatham has begun helping the family, which also includes George's dad Lee, and siblings Caitlyn and Archie.

Rocky and those he recruited to help spent two weeks working on the house ready for a month's time when George is expected to be able to come home from hospital.

George Dodgson's family home in Twydall was severely damaged in January
George Dodgson's family home in Twydall was severely damaged in January

He said: "The place was absolutely wrecked; there was three or four days-worth of flooding.

"Everything was ruined; there were Christmas presents, toys, sofas, furniture, plasterboards.

"A couple of builders went in and did some work before I came in and I am overwhelmed with the number of people who have offered their support.

"If you went in now, you would see it's a different house. It's beautiful the community has pulled together."

Rocky, of Luton Road, said contractors who found themselves at home without work amid the coronavirus outbreak had been coming in at separate times to get parts of the house finished off.

Kirsty Dodgson and her son George
Kirsty Dodgson and her son George

He added: "I am lucky I know a lot of friends in the building trade. It's only a post that I put on Facebook and before I knew it, there were 356 page shares. It went absolutely mental.

"Everyone has got to work together in life and they have been superstars; they have put their hands in their own pockets."

Those who got involved with Team George were: K C Home Improvements, IGM Plumbing and Heating Ltd, Medway Windows and Doors, Howdens Building supplies, R Sandman Builders, Harris Building Facilities Management, LA Plastering, Simply Plastering, Lee Carroll Buildersand Crown Paints.

Rocky has helped worthy causes for the past six years; he has previously completed feats of strength including hauling double decker buses and trucks to raise money for people with life-limiting conditions.

He is also an advocate for anti-knife crime efforts and first got involved helping children with brain tumours when he heard about eight-year-old Lyrah Brewer from Faversham, who has an incurable tumour.

Rocky Troiani from Chatham is raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity
Rocky Troiani from Chatham is raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity

The Pride of Britain Award nominee is aiming to beat the Guinness World Record for pulling a 13-tonne bus for an hour.

He hopes to pull the bus a mile, beating the current record of 1km, while raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity.

He has had to postpone much of his training since gyms closed down, but is hoping to go ahead with the challenge at either the end of June or the beginning of July.

The 49-year-old said: "So many families have come forward now who have suffered. I have a wealth of families behind me for this and they are telling me their stories, families all over the UK.

"It also creates a bit of awareness. If your child has been suffering from dizziness, speech or vision problems, it's good to get it checked out."

"We are so grateful to all who have helped and continue to help. It means so much to us."

Meanwhile, a JustGiving page set up to raise money for the family, by Kirsty's best friend Bonnie Beech, has reached almost £3,500.

Bonnie had been planning a sponsored walk from her home in Chatham to King's College Hospital in London, but this was marred by poor weather.

She has been posting regular updates to those supporting the JustGiving page, and organising surprises for George.

Kirsty and family have moved from a Ronald McDonald House near King's College Hospital to accommodation closer to the Royal Marsden Hospital, where George is receiving radiotherapy.

The family hopes to be home in a month's time before he begins chemotherapy.

After having major surgery, George will have to re-learn how to talk.

Kirsty said: "We are so grateful to all who have helped and continue to help. It means so much to us."

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