Celebrity footballers kick off to help toddler Archie's cancer appeal top £200,000
A celebrity football match is set to help an appeal for a seriously ill toddler reach its £200,000 goal.
Simon and Harriet Wilks' three-year-old son Archie, an identical twin, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma after becoming unwell last December.
Since then he has been bravely enduring gruelling treatment for two tumours around his kidney and spine and his parents are fundraising to finance a course of vaccinations at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a world-renowned treatment and research institution in New York.
They believe it will give little Archie the best chance of defeating the rare childhood cancer once his NHS treatment finishes in around 18 months.
Family and friends have already donated more than £47,000 and pal Daniel Pope, 30, hopes to boost that total further with the match at Saffron Walden Town Football Club from noon on Sunday, July 21.
He and Simon were classmates at Newport Free Grammar School, now the Joyce Frankland Academy, while Harriet was a pupil at the Herts and Essex High School in Bishop's Stortford.
Stars expected to play are former TOWIE star Dan Osborne, X-Factor's Jake Quickenden, presenter Jeff Brazier and former Spurs stars Jamie O'Hara and Razor Ruddock, Greg Shepherd and Paul Knightley from The Mummy Diaries reality series.
Daniel, who has three daughters with wife Rosie - five-year-old Liliella, Evie who is two and six-month-old Harper - said: "I have known Simon since we were 11-years-old and went to school together and played football together and been best friends ever since."
Simon works at HIC Insurance Consultants in the Causeway in Bishop's Stortford and Daniel is a team manager for the company.
He said: "I wanted to help in some way and as we know football is family. I have taken on a completely unknown task but it will all be worth it when we raise as much money as we can for the little man."
His support is the second footballing boost for the Wilks. Spurs star and England captain Harry Kane sent Tottenham fan Archie a signed photograph and boosted the appeal with a signed shirt and scarf.
Currently, the tot is back at home in Newport with his mum and dad and "partner in cheekiness" twin Henry.
Neuroblastoma is a second fight for survival for Archie. The boys suffered from twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome while in the womb and mum Harriet, 29, had laser surgery while pregnant to save her sons.
Harriet's sister Chloe, who lives in Bishop's Stortford, has organised a coffee and cake morning at Parsonage Community Hall, Parsonage Lane, on June 30 from 10am to noon. It will feature a raffle, soft toy tombola and glitter face painting.
Stepmother Gail, who lives in Buckinghamshire, has organised a fun day with live music at Great Missenden on Sunday, June 23, from noon to 5pm, to boost the appeal further. Tickets cost £20 for adults and £1 for children and are available from www.skiddle.com
To donate to Archie's appeal, see https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/Archiesjourney or follow his progress on Facebook and volunteer to help raise money.