Mum says faith in humanity is restored by gift

CONNECTED Chloe Challoner with her new mobile phone.    Picture: Allan Hutchings (111001-267)
CONNECTED Chloe Challoner with her new mobile phone. Picture: Allan Hutchings (111001-267)

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LITTLE Chloe Challoner finally has something to smile about – her stolen mobile phone has been replaced with a new one.

The nine-year-old was left heartbroken after her phone was taken from her bedside in Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham.

CHARITY Andy Blackwood

CHARITY Andy Blackwood

Chloe suffers from a form of bone cancer and has been receiving aftercare treatment at the Portsmouth hospital.

She has been in hospital for the past six months and her lifeline to her family has been her mobile phone.

It contained pictures of her brother Connor, eight and sister Holly, three.

The phone – a Sony Walkman – was stolen from Chloe’s private room in the Starfish Ward.

Her family has been appealing for its return, due to the sentimental pictures held on the phone.

Volunteers at charity Jamie’s Trust were so moved after reading about her plight in The News, they decided to replace the phone.

Mum Becci Challoner, 33, of Rooksbury Croft, Havant, said: ‘I couldn’t believe it – my faith in humanity is slowly coming back.

‘Chloe has started using her phone and has been taking pictures on it of her family.

‘She’s also loving the fact it’s touch-screen. We’re very grateful for the gift.’

Jamie’s Wish was set up in the memory of Jamie Buckfield, of Littlehampton, West Sussex in 2007.

He was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour in 2003 and died four years later aged 17.

During that time his family felt there were not many charities to help younger people suffering from long-term illnesses.

Andy Blackwood, Jamie’s stepdad and director of the charity, said: ‘It disgusts me that someone can steal from a child in hospital. When I read what had happened I knew the charity had to help.

‘I went and bought her a pink Nokia touchscreen phone because that is what the charity is all about.

‘When Jamie was around we found it quite difficult. It’s not always about sending people to Disneyland, sometimes it’s about the smaller things, like making sure people have petrol and parking money to visit hospitals, or like replacing this phone.

‘With Jamie we found there weren’t many charities locally helping children and teenagers with life-threatening illnesses.

‘So Jamie’s Wish focuses on babies under one years old to people aged 25.

‘Sometimes it might not be about helping the patient, but the families.’

Chloe is staying in Southampton General Hospital, where she receives her chemotherapy.

Anyone with information should call Nigel Dowland at Fratton police station on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.