Belfast Telegraph

East Belfast schools raises over £20,000 for teen girl's 'life changing' operation

By James Gant

An east Belfast school has raised over £20,000 for a 13-year-old pupil who needs a "life changing" operation in America after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Over 900 students from Strathearn Girls Grammar School did a ‘lip sync’ challenge, sports morning and cinema experience to raise £21,000 towards Hollie Massey’s £115,000 operation in Texas.

David Massey, Hollie’s father, accepted the cheque as Hollie was having tests in Manchester Children’s Hospital.

He said he and his wife Julie had been “blown away” by the efforts of the school this week.

“We are so humbled by the love and support that Hollie has been shown by her friends, fellow pupils and teachers at Strathearn.

“Julie, Hollie and I want to say a very heartfelt thank you to everyone at the School – this really means so much.”

The sporty girl from Bangor needs the money for an operation at Texas Children’s Hospital - which is not available on the NHS - after she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour that caused up to "12 seizures a day".

The hospital carries out laser ablation surgery and has said Hollie is eligible.

Hollie loves athletics but Julie and David noticed a decline in her ability and health last year.

Doctors found Hypothalamic Hamartoma in her brain on June 20 which caused bouts of fits and affected her cognitive ability.

The uncontrolled seizures and memory loss had a "catastrophic" impact on Hollie’s life, despite anti-seizure medication.

Julie, a civil servant, who also has a son called Harris, said on a GoFundMe page: “Without this surgery Hollie will never be able to lead a normal life and this is why we find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of asking for help as the surgery comes at a huge cost.

“We are determined to secure the best possible treatment for Hollie and we will do everything we can in addition to this page to fundraise. As a family we would like to thank you in advance for any help you can give us along this journey.”

So far the page has raised £94,000.

Strathearn School’s preparatory and secondary department held a non-uniform day yesterday where pupils were encouraged to wear green - as it is Hollie’s favourite colour.

Principal Nicola Connery said: “To raise £21,000 in just five days is an incredible achievement and I am extremely proud of their efforts.

“Strathearn isn’t just a school, it’s a family and that has never been more apparent than in recent weeks since hearing the news about Hollie.

“Over the past five days, in particular, we have really seen every pupil and member of staff come together to use their creativity and talents in raising money to support Hollie’s campaign.

“At Strathearn we are committed to creating a culture and ethos where every pupil feels cared for and supported in everything they do. For me, this week has been a wonderful demonstration of our girls ‘living out’ that ethos by showing their support for Hollie in this special way.”

Head Girl Anna Corbett, who gave the cheque to David, added: “When we heard about the potential for Hollie to have this surgery, we wanted to do something to help and immediately set about putting together this week of fundraising events.

“This has been a joint effort not only by every pupil in the School but by our teachers too, who have guided, supported and encouraged us wholeheartedly throughout the week.

“We hope that this £21,000 not only helps towards Hollie’s trip to the States for surgery but shows her just how much she is cared for by everyone at Strathearn.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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