Bedford student brings in cash for cancer trust

CHARITY BACKING: Ross  Testa, standing, with Ellis Haggith.
CHARITY BACKING: Ross Testa, standing, with Ellis Haggith.

Raising thousands of pounds for charity is no mean feat, but one driven teenager pulled it off in a week.

Ross Testa, who attends Bedford Modern School, raised a whopping £4,670 in just seven days by organising a series of events.

The 18-year-old A-level student set himself the challenge to fundraise for the Teenage Cancer Trust after childhood friend Ellis Haggith was diagnosed with leukaemia.

He said: “I decided to do a charity week at school, firstly to raise awareness about teenage cancers and the trust, but also to show how positive Ellis has been throughout his treatment.

The pair have been friends since attending lower and middle school together. They both went to Sharnbook Upper, where Ellis is studying for his A-levels.

Ellis was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in March 2013. He then faced three-and-a-half years of daily chemotherapy, and monthly hospital treatment which was made more bearable thanks to the support he recieved from the Teenage Cancer Trust.

He said: “I’m about three quarters of the way through the treatment, which is all going to plan. I’ve been very lucky, especially being treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in the Teenage Cancer Trust unit. It is all funded by the charity.”

As boys, Ross dreamed of becoming the next Richard Branson, while Ellis wanted to be a basketball player.

Ellis was on track with acheiving his goal having gained a scholarship to play with a team in Loughborough. He said: “That is on hold at the moment but I should be able to jump straight back into it once the treatment is finished.”

Given his fundraising success, it seems business is second nature to Ross. He has secured a place to study business and management at Nottingham Trent University and said the charity week has given him an invaluable insight into the business world.

He said: “For the week, I organised cake sales and raffles, which meant negotiating with local businesses, supermarkets and bakeries to get them to donate the cakes and prizes.

“I also set up sponsored events such as bike rides, and for the school chatterbox, a sponsored silence. We did five-a-side football tournaments, there were magic shows for the younger pupils, and I organised groups to carry out bag packing at supermarkets.

“One of the more popular events was the teachers’ karaoke!”

The pair aim to present a cheque to the Teenage Cancer Trust in April, and are planning more events.

Ross paid tribute to his school friends saying: “Everybody got involved, even though Ellis is at a different school. It is great to be able to give back to the charity which has helped him out.”

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