Roberttown mum Shirley Hepworth shares story of her daughter Beau's brave battle at launch of children's cancer campaign

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The mum of a young girl from the Spen Valley who died from neuroblastoma last year gave an impassioned speech at the launch of the “Kids Get Cancer Too” campaign in London.

Shirley Hepworth, from Roberttown, described the “horrific” treatment that her daughter Beau had bravely endured as a result of her “relentless, invasive, gut-wrenching cancer”.

She explained how, while caring for her child, she also had to raise large sums of money to give Beau the chance of treatment abroad because it wasn’t available in the UK.

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Shirley said: “Fundraising for overseas treatments is a tough thing to carry when you are single-handedly caring for a child with cancer.

“The astronomical volume of money required to give your child a chance at life is unthinkable, the time you have to do it is undoable.”

The campaign, led by the charity Solving Kids Cancer UK, is calling for children’s cancer to be made a priority in health policy with access to clinical trials in Britain that offer potentially life-saving therapies.

In her speech, Shirley said: “I was lucky I live in a place where community is still a thing, where Beau is known and loved.

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“I have an amazing local MP, an MP who genuinely cares with a drive in her like no other, a mountain mover.

Shirley Hepworth with her daughter, Beau, in 2022Shirley Hepworth with her daughter, Beau, in 2022
Shirley Hepworth with her daughter, Beau, in 2022

“We were also devastatingly unlucky because raising the money is one hurdle, but keeping this cancer at bay is another.”

Introducing Shirley at the launch event, Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater said: “It was a privilege and a pleasure soon after becoming the MP to meet Shirley and beautiful little Beau, as well as Beau’s sister Redd and grandma June.

“It was terribly sad to lose Beau almost a year ago now, but it was wonderful to see the local community in Roberttown come together first to help raise money for her treatment and then to mark her passing with so much warmth and love.”

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Gail Jackson, from Solving Kids Cancer UK, thanked Shirley and said: “She’s here for every other family and every other child with cancer.”

Shirley Hepworth, right, speaking at the campaign launch, along with Batley and Spen MP Kim LeadbeaterShirley Hepworth, right, speaking at the campaign launch, along with Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater
Shirley Hepworth, right, speaking at the campaign launch, along with Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater

Gail added: “We want more support for our NHS, so that they can more efficiently deliver clinical trials for children with cancer without being hampered by bureaucracy.

“And we want more children with cancer to be able to access the latest, novel therapies here in the UK, so that their families don’t feel compelled to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to travel abroad instead.”

A special film about Beau was shown for the first time at the event. To watch it, visit

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