Francesca’s fundraising tribute to three friends

Cancer survivor Francesca Wheatley
Cancer survivor Francesca Wheatley

A brave cancer survivor from Whalley is organising a fundraising ball to honour the memory of her three best friends who all died from the illness.

Francesca Wheatley, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2010, has been fundraising for the children and young people’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent for the past two years.

The 18-year-old, who took her GCSE exams in hospital while attached to a drip and achieve 11 passes, has now been free of cancer for more than three years.

Whilst undergoing treatment she met her best friends Ryan, Kim and Hayley. Sadly, Ryan and Kim both passed away in 2012 and Hayley Barker (17), from Padiham, died last year from an infection she contracted after a double lung transplant.

Now, Francesca, of Woodland Park, who underwent chemotherapy for six months, followed by seven weeks of daily radiotherapy and four operations, has organised a masquerade ball at Mytton Fold Hotel, Langho, and is appealing to shops and businesses to donate raffle prizes to raise as much money as possible for CLIC Sargent.

“I am dedicating this ball to the memory of my three best friends who I met during my illness and who supported me throughout my recovery,” explained Francesca, who is studying for a BA in social policy at the University of Birmingham.

“Cancer can be a very isolating experience, as you don’t have the energy to go out and do everything a normal teenager can.

“CLIC Sargent provided me with an opportunity to meet other young people with cancer, to be able to speak about our experiences and, most importantly, to go out and be able to feel normal again.

“No child aged 15 and 16 expects to be burying their friends, but in 2012 two of my best friends passed away and I didn’t know how to cope. The pain felt almost unbearable, but thanks to CLIC Sargent I had a strong support network to get me through the rough patch and look into the future.

“I’m now even more determined to raise lots of money for CLIC Sargent, as without this charity I would never have had the pleasure of meeting my three best friends.”

Francesca organised a similar ball last year and this raised £5,000. This year’s ball will be held on Friday, September 12th. There will be a three-course dinner, live entertainment, a raffle, a silent auction, a DJ and dancing.

Anyone wishing to donate raffle prizes or silent auction lots, is asked to contact Francesca on 07527 269894 or send an email to