Hot air balloon ride raises money for sick boy

A hot air balloon flight and a dinner for two in a top London restaurant donated by Gordon Ramsay were two of the lots which went under the hammer in a secret auction last month to raise money for cancer treatment for a young Northamptonshire boy.

Seven year old Zac Knighton-Smith, who lives with his family in Rushden near Kettering, was diagnosed with acute neuroblastoma three years ago and has already undergone extensive chemotherapy and surgery in the UK. Neuroblastoma is the second most common of childhood cancers and more prevalent in boys than girls. The under-fives are most at risk, with the chance of developing it after the age of ten being very low. Almost 100 children are diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK.

Zac’s family, who need to raise £30,000 to pay for pioneering surgery in Germany, were joined in their quest by Kettering’s businessmen.

Stuart Hopkins, who launched Kettering’s loyalty card scheme some years ago, persuaded Newlands Shopping Centre to offer a £100 voucher redeemable in any of the stores in the shopping centre.

Despite the economic climate, several businesses were keen to donate, with participating businesses including a pizza chain and an Indian restaurant, both of which offered meals for two, and a local boutique which offered vouchers for £50, while the local garage donated an MOT and service.

The hot air balloon ride proved to be a great draw at the auction, which raised over £1,000 towards Zac’s treatment.

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