Truck pull brings family of a boy with cancer home

A strongman has pulled a 16 tonne truck to raise the funds needed to repair a home so the family of a little boy with brain cancer can return. George Dodgson, four, had to have emergency surgery to remove a tumour after he fell down the stairs of his family home in Twydall, near Gillingham. Watch Rocky pull 16 tonne truck 200 metres to raise money for the Dodgson family

Doctors initially dismissed George's symptoms, telling his mother Kirsty Marie it was likely he had an ear infection.

Tragedy struck again for the family of five when their house was damaged after a radiator burst while they were waiting for their son to return from surgery. Some initial work was done to the house thanks to avid supporter of good causes Medway Spidey - otherwise known as John Scallion - who successfully appealed to contractors to help kick-start repairs to the house. Last month, charity fundraiser Rocky Troiani from Chatham stepped up to help the family, which also includes George's dad Lee, and siblings Caitlyn and Archie.

He set up an appeal called #TeamGeorge and recruited some builders with the aim of completely refurbishing the home in five weeks, when George was due to be released from hospital.

George Dodgson, four, cuddles his family

This proved to be more difficult than first thought with the lockdown announcement meaning they all had to work shifts to ensure social distancing. "I got a group of five or six really good builders and we blitzed it," he said.

"We had to rotate the builders, plasterers and electricians so there were not more than one or two in the house at the same time." "I basically self-isolated in their home," he added. "We had to get that job done otherwise they would not have had a house to come home to."

He added that the lockdown had helped in some ways as many of the builders were only just now returning to work and so had lots of time to spare. Not content with refurbishing the house from top to bottom, Rocky set himself the additional challenge of transforming the loft space.

George Dodgson's family home in Twydall was severely damaged in January

To finance this, he held a charity truck pull on Sunday where he towed a 16 tonne lorry despite having had no training in more than seven weeks. "It was very gruelling and painful with lactic acid build-up in the calves," he said.

"It has been worthy, every solitary second - knowing that this was the goal I set for this, the 200 metres was pulled and funds successfully raised for little George." He raised GBP1,000 for the family which has been spent on replacing items lost in the flood and furnishing the house. The family returned home on Saturday after living in temporary accommodation close to the Royal Marsden Hospital, where George had been receiving radiotherapy.

Rocky said the family were overcome with emotion and extremely grateful to the "amazing builders" who transformed their home.

"I've never seen a little boy smile so much considering what they have been through."

Read more: All the latest news from Medway


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