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Gentoo helps brave little cancer battler


Published by LauraMcKinlay for Gentoo Group in Care and Support and also in Communities, Health

Little Archie with his family and Gentoo, Wearmouth and Toma Fund Little Archie with his family and Gentoo, Wearmouth and Toma Fund

Two north east companies have joined forces to help a brave family, after their little boy was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).

Two years ago, Nicola Holder and Thomas McNish from Sunderland, were in the middle of household renovations when they were given the devastating news that their baby son Archie McNish was seriously ill. The family spent weeks in hospital with Archie, now two years old, while he went through gruelling chemotherapy sessions.

Archie's diagnosis meant less hours at work, money was tight and they were faced with the practicalities of getting little Archie in and out their home, while their driveway lay unfinished, full of potholes and rubble.

After being contacted for help, the Toma Fund - a charity who supports children, teenagers, young people and their families from the North East and Cumbria who are living through treatment for childhood cancers – offered to fund completion of the driveway. They approached social business Gentoo Group who worked in partnership with Wearmouth Construction to get the driveway complete in time for Christmas.

Archie’s mum, Nicola said: “This time last year we were in hospital with Archie while he had his treatment. He is so brave and luckily most of his treatment is at home now in the form of oral chemo and antibiotics. He is still on steroids and still requires lumber-punctures and bone marrow tests every three months. But Archie has come a long way and I hope it stays that way.

“A new driveway might sound like a strange request but it has made our lives so much easier. Being able to park closer to the house helps us to get Archie in and out much more easily. I want to say a huge thank you to the Toma Fund, Wearmouth and Gentoo for all their hard work. It’s made a huge difference to our lives.”

Lesley Fairley, Director of Operations at Gentoo, said: “We’re really glad that by working with our supply chain we’ve been able to help Nicola, Thomas and their family. Gentoo is an Art of Living business and knowing that we’ve been able to improve this for Archie’s family is extremely worthwhile.”

Gary Humphreys - Managing Director, Wearmouth Construction Ltd, said: “It was our pleasure to carry out the works for the Toma Fund. When Gentoo approached our company with the request to build the driveway, there was no hesitation in going forward with the works. We hope the construction of the new drive has helped put a smile on the faces of Archie’s family.”

Andrea Thompson CEO & Founder of the Toma Fund, said: “Toma Fund were delighted to be able to help little Archie’s family when they came to us for support to get their driveway sorted out.  It was wonderful that both Gentoo and Wearmouth Construction could partner with us on this to get it done.  They have made a wonderful job of it and it will certainly make life a lot easier for the family as they support Archie through his treatment.

“We can only do this with the help and support of the community who do so much fundraising for us. So, on behalf of all the families we have helped and will help in the future, thank you so much.”

Gentoo Group’s whole ethos is about believing nothing is impossible and finding new ways to challenge conventions, Gentoo aims to make society a better place to live and to make a real difference to the way people live their life. To find out more about Gentoo, visit for more information or follow @gentoogroup on Twitter.


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