Colleagues of a mother whose train-obsessed four-year-old requires life-saving cancer treatment abroad are visiting every London Tube and railway station to raise money.
In February, the parents of four-year-old Teddy Lichten launched a £300,000 fundraising to give their son the best chance of beating the childhood cancer neuroblastoma.
Colleagues at marketing firm W&J Linney where Teddy’s mum Kat works have decided to pitch in to help fundraise.
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Lead organiser Florian Frank Fleitmann, 40, told the PA news agency that the group of colleagues have already visited almost 50 stations, as they aim to raise £1,500.
The colleagues have been documenting their progress on Instagram at @trackingtrains4teddy with photos and videos, and plan to collate the images into a souvenir for Teddy.
Mr Fleitmann said: “Teddy obviously is a big fan of trains and everything that has to do with trains, and… we were thinking, what can we do to support Katherine and Teddy and their family.
“It was an open chat between the small group of our team and we had the idea of visiting train stations, because a lot of us are commuting from in and outside of London.
“We were thinking, we might as well combine that with taking selfies or snapshots or videos of trains arriving and we could turn this into a challenge over the summer for two or three months to get people to have a little bit of fun with us and take them on our journey.”
The colleagues plan to give Teddy a special souvenir once they complete the challenge of visiting over 500 London stations, which they hope to do by the end of September.
Mr Fleitmann said: “We’re also looking at putting the best pictures together at the end of the challenge to give Teddy some sort of collection of photos that he can then keep for the future, for a photo book or a memory game.
“The family will have a little bit of a souvenir from that as well.”
The colleagues have added an additional layer of creativity and fun to the challenge by writing a story involving a character, Toby the Toy Train, as they visit the stations.
Mr Fleitmann said: “One of my colleagues had the idea of a children’s story of Toby the Toy Train, who is on his journey to find Teddy, and every once in a while we are interleaving our posts with little chapters of Toby’s adventures.”
Teddy’s mum, Ms Lichten, 34, said she is “so touched” that her colleagues have been moved to help her family by taking on this challenge.
She said: “I’m very thankful for their support, especially as I have been unable to return to work since Teddy’s diagnosis as he has been so unwell.”
She said that her son “loves to watch the videos they share of the stations they have visited for him”.
Teddy was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer, in July 2022, at which point the cancer had already metastasized in nearly every area of his body and had taken over 60% of his bone marrow.
After undergoing several gruelling rounds of chemotherapy and other treatments, he has recently begun six months of immunotherapy and will finish frontline treatment at the end of 2023.
Teddy’s parents are working with the specialist neuroblastoma charity, Solving Kids’ Cancer, to help them raise the funds for a potentially life-saving cancer vaccine in New York.
The vaccine could cost up to £300,000 and would involve eight trips to the US over three years.
So far, the family have raised over £150,000.
Donations can be received here.