George and the Giant Pledge

On January 3rd 2017 our son George was diagnosed with cancer. A PNET soft tissue Ewing's Sarcoma.
This is his story and our Giant Pledge to help beat childhood cancer so no other child has to suffer in this way.

We decided to set up ‘George and the Giant Pledge’ because no child should ever have to have their childhood taken from them in this terrible way.

VickiGeorge's Mum
Alex and George

On 3 January 2017 Vicki and James Woodall (Woody) received the news that’s every parent’s worst nightmare. They were told by doctors at The Royal Marsden Hospital that a lump they’d found on their then four-year-old son’s back was in fact cancer, a rare PNET soft tissue Ewing’s Sarcoma.

From being a perfectly healthy and happy little boy George and the Woodall family’s lives changed overnight. Over the course of 2017 he endured 14 rounds of chemo, had part of his spine removed during 10 hours of complex surgery and received proton therapy in the USA thanks to the NHS.

Vicki and Woody are trying to make the best of their bad situation and, despite navigating George’s difficult cancer journey, supporting his older brother and trying to maintain some semblance of family life, they pledged to raise £1,000,000 to help beat childhood cancer.

“Seeing all those young children with no hair and tubes coming out of them on our first visit to The Royal Marsden was truly heartbreaking. Yet the thing that struck us the most was how many of those kids had a smile on their face. It was then that we decided to set up ‘George and the Giant Pledge’, because no child should ever have to have their childhood taken from them in this terrible way.”

Help team George and the Giant Pledge raise vital funds for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

None of the money raised is directly for George, your donations will go 100% to the children’s team at The Royal Marsden Hospital to help fund much needed research into children’s cancer as well as help The Royal Marsden team continue the outstanding work they’re doing for children and families affected by cancer.

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Our campaign, inspired by the ‘Do a Big Poo’ song 💩

Our Progress

George and the Giant Pledge
George and the Giant Pledge
It felt like a small step in a positive direction seeing that the UK moved down from the coronavirus alert level 5 to level 4 today. Not that this means anything changes for any of us day to day just yet but, as this image from the BBC explains, hospitals are no longer considered to be 'at a material risk of being overwhelmed within a 21 day period', even if pressure remains very high hence social distancing rules staying the same. (See the full BBC article here,

As it happens the UK government's longer term plan for easing lockdown restrictions formed a big part of my psychology session discussion today. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in finding myself worrying about things even if it's the positive news we all need to get our lives back on track again. Yet these positive steps and target dates are equally fuelling my anxiety at the moment, I just haven't mentioned it much here as no one wants to be the one to poo in the pool do they 💩

I say that as if I'm completely honest, as awful as lockdown is, it's helped me in a number of unexpected ways. It meant that if I was having a bad day or if I was struggling in a meeting I could simply turn my camera off, have a good cry and no one would be any the wiser! (Remember I'd only been back in work 10 weeks after my 3 years off following George's cancer diagnosis before Google sent us all home ahead of the Government doing the same due to the coronavirus). I could disappear socially with no need for explanation or consequence under the guise of 'not another Zoom call thanks'. Plus it meant bad habits such as staying up stupidly late were also doable as suddenly we were in our homes 24/7 so being up till 3am wasn't so much of a problem as I've not had to be up at 6.30 to get ready and commute into London for so long....but with all these changes coming none of these things will soon be possible 😞

Lockdown has also meant we've got to spend so much time with the kids, and after cancer in our lives we're acutely aware how precious this time / life is. Don't get me wrong, we're not the von Trapps, we argue a lot, hate homeschooling and long for our own space, but I'm massively going to miss the comfort and security of it being just the four of us! Equally we have to feel confident in the fact that none of us are dying so not to catastrophise things can imagine that after facing that potential stark reality with George and his cancer diagnosis, plus with so many of our little friends dying around us, we still carry a fair amount of morbid thoughts and all things PTSD with us.

To then find a new lump on George's back, have Alex diagnosed with epilepsy and needing to gradually build him up on some serious meds, my pre Christmas mammogram scare and Alex's recent surprise operation ...there really has been a lot going on these last 3 months so it's no surprise we're feeling on such high alert as if the rug is about to be pulled from underneath us again!

In short I've got some serious resetting and work on myself that I need to do! Worrying about outcomes that haven't even happened and dark thoughts are taking up far too much time in my head again. Somewhere between work, the coronavirus and our own multiple medical dramas there's a balance to be found, I'm just not sure where that is just yet therefore working on my mental health is once again my full time job.

Between us we've got this.


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