CancerCare Campaign: Dillon’s jewellery mission to help children with cancer

Dillon Hearne and Devan during their time in America.
Dillon Hearne and Devan during their time in America.

Most eight-year-olds are often seen outdoors playing but one young boy wanted to make jewellery to help children “so they don’t have to die”.

Dillon Hearne spent several weeks in his mum’s workshop crafting earrings to give children who have cancer a better outlook on life.

Dillon Hearne making the jewellery in his mum's studio.

Dillon Hearne making the jewellery in his mum's studio.

He said: “I wanted to raise money to help children who get really unwell, so they don’t have to die.”

The Quernmore Primary School pupil wanted to give back to CancerCare after the family received devastating news from their friends in America.

The Hearne family have always been big supporters of the charity and from a 
young age Dillon has had to find out how hard cancer can be.

In April 2015 his best friend Devan Boyd, who lives in Camarillo, near LA, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a pediatric cancer which affects children’s bones.

Dillon’s mum Rachel, who runs group jewellery workshops at CancerCare, said: “I was just devastated when I found out, we were all in shock.

“It was like a kick in the face, you can’t ignore this ugly beast.

“We talked about it in detail and it was upsetting for Dillon, we didn’t know she was going to make it.”

Devan, who was just seven-years-old when she was diagnosed, has been through chemotherapy and is currently learning how to use her prosthetic leg.

She underwent rotationplasty, when a portion of the limb is removed and the remaining is attached and rotated to help growth.

Rachel, 40, explains how children react differently to adults when they hear the word ‘cancer.’

She said: “I think kids are sometimes better than adults, they don’t see it as a big deal they are very natural with each other. Dillon is like oh your leg is on backwards, let’s go and play.

“It is so nice to have CancerCare. There are plenty of kids out there who have lost someone to cancer and there is a place they can work out their emotions.

“In LA there is nowhere like CancerCare, a free service which does a range of things for people living with cancer and their families.

“Over the years we have talked a lot about cancer and Dillon knows about the service. It is one of those things you carefully tread around in some ways, but we continue to talk about it now.”

Dillon was two-years-old when he started watching his mum making jewellery at their home in Hest Bank.

When Devan became very ill Dillon decided he wanted to do something.

With help from his mum he made 50 pairs of earrings and fundraised more than £1,000 for CancerCare’s Children and Young People’s Service.

Rachel said: “He has done better than I ever imagined.”

CancerCare has helped the family talk about cancer more and Rachel says she feels honoured to be a part of a charity who offer so much to the community.

She said: “I have the honour, the privilege of being part of people’s lives at a time when things are very difficult for them.

“It is pretty unusual if you look across the UK, there are not many places like CancerCare and it’s free which is amazing.

“Cancer is everybody’s worse fear. It is a lottery life, you just don’t know what you are going to get, you wouldn’t wish this on your worst enemy.”

The Hearnes keep in touch with the Boyd family in America and visit once every 
year.

Dillon is keen to do another fundraiser soon but for now Rachel says he is enjoying his schooltime, playtime and seeing Devan as much as he possibly can.