Brightons girl’s Disney dream comes true

Ashlee Easton has Disneyworld to look forward to following her intense treatment. Picture: Michael Gillen (133296d)
Ashlee Easton has Disneyworld to look forward to following her intense treatment. Picture: Michael Gillen (133296d)

A young cancer sufferer who will spend most of this year in hospital is looking forward to Disneyland thanks to an amazing gesture from a wealthy New York businessman.

Seven-year-old Ashlee Easton was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in February last year and following a year of chemotherapy is set to now undergo bouts of treatment and operations, including a stem cell transplant, that will hopefully cure her of the disease starting on Monday at Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow.

Big-hearted businessman Bart McDade

Big-hearted businessman Bart McDade

After hearing of her plight parents, pupils and staff from her school, Wallacestone primary, started raising money in a bid to send her, mum and dad Lisa and Donald and big brother Jayden to Disneyworld in Florida to cheer them up.

The inspiring story in The Falkirk Herald last month moved big-hearted businessman Bart McDade and his friends so much they pledged 5000 dollars to the fund after Mr McDade read it on our website from his New York home.

The cheque from the high-flying executive has been received by the school and will be added to its £3000 fund which should be enough to pay for the family’s trip to Florida.

Father-of-three Mr McDade, who is vice president and director of operations for Newmark Grubb Knight Frank – one of the world’s leading commercial real estate advisory firms which has annual revenues of over $450 million – wanted to help the family who live more than 3200 miles away as he was born in Camelon and left for the US when he was 11.

He said: “When I read about Ashlee it hit my soft spot. I know how difficult it is for children to raise money so when I read online in The Falkirk Herald article about the Wallacestone children raising funds for Ashlee I thought me and my friends would help them reach their goal to send Ashlee and her family to Disneyland.”

Mr McDade also owns an apartment near Disney and has offered it to the family to use for a week while they are there.

He added: “I hope Ashlee does not have a tough time with her treatments and has a full and speedy recovery. She now has Disneyworld to look forward to so she will have good thoughts as she does her treatments, Disneyworld is a fantastic place for children – and adults.”

Ashlee’s mum Lisa (40) said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed by Bart’s generosity, and that of everyone else who has donated to the school’s fund. I’d like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts.

“It’s been a very difficult time but the fundraising has shown us how many caring and generous people there are in the world. It has left us speechless.

“Ashlee has a tough year ahead of her. She will be in isolation for a long time due to some of the treatment, but she is really looking forward to going Disney.

“Because she will be in hospital for most of the year it probably won’t be until next year until we get to go.”

Anne Kerr from Wallacestone primary said: “Mr McDade is the talk of our school just now. When the $5000 is transferred into pounds it should be around £3000 and we are planning to do more fundraising this year. It has been a fantastic effort by everyone.

“They are a lovely family and Ashlee has a brother at this school who will benefit so much from a super family holiday to Florida at the right time too. The generosity is a wonderful lesson in values for all of our school community.”