Parents of boy with cancer ‘forced to pay £5,000 in hospital parking bills’

The parents of an 11-year-old boy who is battling blood cancer have revealed they have had to spend £5,000 on parking just to visit their son in hospital.

Darcy Sturman has been at a children’s ward since being diagnosed with leukaemia in September 2017, either staying their most of the time or going back for weekly check-ups.

His mum and dad Jo and Jay, who live in Louth, Lincs, have had to do a 166-mile round trip from their home to be with their son who is in a hospital in Sheffield.

In the last few years, they have racked up 20,000 miles and spent £5,000 on parking and £7,000 on fuel on the trips which they make twice weekly.

To park in the hospital's private car pack, it costs them £16 a day as the spaces available in the regular car park are “always taken”.

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Jay told Daily Star : “The entire hospital only has 26 spaces which is a bit of a joke.

“We have no chance of being able to park there.”

Despite the government pledging free parking for parents of sick children starting from next month, Jay fears nothing will change.

He said: “From what I can see nothing is going to change here and we will be left to pay all the time.

“We are obviously going to do whatever it costs to be here with him, but financially it is crippling.

“These sorts of things are the hidden costs of cancer. For us it is like having to pay for a second mortgage.

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"I have had to take out credit cards just to pay for petrol and parking and it doesn’t seem fair. We are in loads of debt because of the travel costs.

“All we are doing is visiting our son in hospital and it’s financially crippling us.”

Speaking from his son’s hospital bedside, the dad-of-two explained how his family’s life was turned upside down when Darcy was diagnosed in September 2017.

Jay said: “He was eight years old at the time and was a really fit and active lad. He played rugby and loved to be outside.

“But almost overnight our lives were turned upside down.”

Doctors gave Darcy a 50% to 60% chance of a full recovery after he had a transplant to replace his blood with a donor’s in November 2018.

But brave boy suffered a relapse after a small amount of cancer survived.

The couple were forced to sell their old car and buy a more reliable one to cope with the regular hospital trips, costing them another £400 a month.

They also spend £100 a week on meals while Darcy is at hospital.

In a bid to keep up with the costs, Jay and Jo have had to ask for help from wellwishers, setting up a fundraising page to try to cover some of the cost.

To donate to their GoFundMe page, click here.

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