A fundraiser set up by a family of a boy diagnosed with leukaemia has raised thousands for Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

Griff James was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in October 2021 aged just two and will be receiving continuous treatment until 2025.

The Children’s Ward at the Maelor has become a “second home” according to Griff’s mum, Kathryn James, and they decided they wanted to raise some money for Awyr Las Gogledd Cymru - Blue Sky North Wales, which is now thought to be over £6,000 when gift-aid is added.

She said: “We just wanted to pay a bit more back now to the hospital in Wrexham because they’re obviously a big part of our lives. We’re there regularly, we were there a couple of weeks ago on a sleepover because he’d spiked a temperature and had got a cold so we had to stay in for a couple of nights.”

A JustGiving page was initially set up with the aim to raise £500, however after reaching that milestone after just a week, they decided to continue and see what their total would be.

It is no longer possible to donate to the page, but the total is £5,181.

The Leader: The cheque The cheque (Image: Kathryn James)

The money was also raised in other ways. AAG events held an evening with Warren Gatland, and supported their cause during the night, raising around £1,200.

Griff, who has a brother and sister, and his friends from school also did a sponsored walk, and his school’s sports day, which he unfortunately missed, held a raffle that also went towards Griff's fundraiser, including donated prizes.

Kathryn is also a teacher at a different school and so their school also sold raffle tickets during their sports day, with help from year 6s.

They aimed for the fundraising to be done by October this year, and recently took the cheque to the ward.

Kathryn said: “The main prize was a signed Warren Gatland shirt that was framed and it was the ward manager who’s one of Griff biggest fans  - they’re like best friends on the ward together – she won it! So, it was quite nice (and) he took that down for her as well.”


The money has already seen some members of staff go on oncology training at Alder Hhey, Kathryn said, which they are pleased about.

On Griff, she said: “He’s a loveable rogue shall we say, so everybody just falls for Griff.”

She added: “Unfortunately with him being immunosuppressed any coughs or colds or anything like that, he’s quite susceptible to it."

This means that as soon as he gets a high temperature, he does go to hospital

She added: “They’ve got to do some blood tests and things and if he’s well enough we’re allowed to come home but most times when those blood tests come back he’s not quite, even though he seems well, under their eyes he’s not well enough so we have to stay in for 48 hours at least.”

This means six hourly antibiotics for Griff, and the winter season sees an increase in these illnesses. Griff has spent the last two Christmases at the hospital and Kathryn described his condition as “unpredictable”, meaning he can be well and then suddenly turn.

Griff is now four, turning five in February, and is described as a “good fighter” with a “strong personality”.

When he was first diagnosed Kathryn said that he wouldn’t let nurses near him, as it was terrifying for him, but now he is comfortable in the ward.

The Leader: Griff on his third birthday in hospitalGriff on his third birthday in hospital (Image: Kathryn James)

Kathryn said: “He comes in, he sits on the nurse’s station, he tells them what to do. The doctors come in and ask him how he’s doing, ‘how’s Doctor Griff today?’

“He is a part of the family down there and they are amazing. They’re just worth their weight in gold they really are.”

Kathryn said that even when his treatment is complete, they won’t ever lose that relationship with them including his community nurses who come out to him weekly.

She added: “(We) can’t thank them enough.”