TUNBRIDGE WELLS charity Tree of Hope has joined forces with a Kent family in a bid to raise almost a million pounds to help treat their teenage daughter, who has cancer.
The parents of 16-year-old Kelly Turner have already reached more than £380,000 through the popular and innovative fundraising technique.
But despite their astonishing success the Turners, who live in Dover, still need a further £600,000 to afford ground-breaking medical care in the US.
Now they have enlisted the help of the registered charity to reach their target after finding that crowdfunding was restricting their ability to maximise their money.
Kelly has been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer called desmoplastic small round cell tumour, and told she had two years to live.
Only 18 cases of this rare disease are detected worldwide each year.
In order to increase Kelly’s life expectancy, she has been accepted for a clinical trial at The Memorial Sloane Kettering hospital in New York, where she can undergo pioneering treatment which is not available in the UK – at a cost of $1.2million.
Tree of Hope helps children and young people with a disability or illness by supporting their families to raise the funds that they need to pay for specialist care that is not offered by the NHS.
The Turners have been hampered by the fact that crowdfunding campaigns are not entitled to claim Gift Aid, which boosts donations by 25 per cent.
And crowdfunders are also denied access to corporate donations because companies will only donate to registered charities.
In addition, organisations such as Tree of Hope can make applications to charitable trusts and foundations on a family’s behalf.
Kelly’s father, Martin Turner, says: “Since discovering Tree of Hope in October they have been a constant source of information and support, and always on hand to offer advice on the best way to maximise on our fundraising efforts.
“They have been a lifeline to our family and I just wish I had known about them before we went down the road of crowdfunding.”
Gill Gibb, Chief Executive of the charity, says: “Tree of Hope is here to support children up until the age of 25 by offering the most effective, tax efficient fundraising framework available.
“Working in partnership with our fundraising families, Tree of Hope supports over 1,000 individual campaigns, providing the governance and financial capability to allow parents to fundraise professionally and legitimately.”
She added: “The problem is that parents whose children have similar conditions to Kelly and Florence miss out on the gift aid, which adds 25 per cent to the campaign funds. That’s a massive boost.
“And because of the checks and balances that we work with, the foundations and trusts come to us to ask if we have families who meet their criteria.”
“With such large totals to aim for, we keep saying to people, ‘Talk to us first’.”
Ms Gibb also warns: “Donors feel a lot more confident that the money is going to the destination it was meant for.
“With crowdfunding, the money goes straight into that person’s bank account and they can do anything they want with it.
“When you donate to a charity like us, you know that your money is going to be really well looked after. It’s really important to realise that individuals are not bound by the same regulations as companies.”
If you would like to help raise money for Kelly visit www.treeofhope.org.uk/kelly-patricia-turner/ or Text KPTF99 and the amount you would like to donate to 70070.
If you would like to talk to someone about the benefits of raising funds with Tree of Hope, starting a campaign, or would like to make the move from crowdfunding to fundraising with Tree of Hope please contact Georgina or Jenny on Tel: 01892 535525 or via firstname.lastname@example.org