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£10,000 for a WAG's designer handbag - or to give Great Yarmouth teenager Abbie hope

PUBLISHED: 19:30 07 July 2016 | UPDATED: 08:13 08 July 2016

Abbie Boast, pictured with her mother Ali, needs treatment in America for a tumour. Picture: James Bass

Abbie Boast, pictured with her mother Ali, needs treatment in America for a tumour. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2016

A Russian footballer's fiancée pouted for the cameras hugging her £10,000 caramel leather handbag as the team made its swift exit from Euro16.

£10,000. For a handbag. In the plush restaurants of London, nobody bats an eyelid at pouches dangling on women’s arms that cost more than a decent family car. A week ago, I might have dismissed this vacuous ostentation as naff foolishness. Immature vulgarity and showy waste of money.

But today, to think people would spend even a tenth of that on a stupid handbag feels obscene, criminal even.

As that WAG stroked her trophy bag, 500 miles away, distraught women were desperately rallying to raise the same amount to send the family of a 13-year-old girl from Great Yarmouth to the US for urgent treatment for her inoperable brain tumour.

The price of this Hermes Birkin handbag – Victoria Beckham has a whole collection in a rainbow of colours – would take away anxiety about money for Abbie’s parents while they stay with her in Florida or Oklahoma as she has the treatment not yet available in the UK.

For too many, £10,000 is back pocket change. For far more, £10,000 might as well be £10m it feels so out of reach.

It is immoral for bankers to pay £10,000 for a bar bill while hardworking mothers work tirelessly on fundraising events to send a seriously sick little girl abroad for life-saving treatment the cash-strapped NHS doesn’t offer yet.

Abbie has named her tumour. She calls it Jeff, and is determined to kick Jeff’s butt. Jeff is particularly stubborn, resistant to chemotherapy and inoperable. In medics’ speak, Jeff is grade two diffuse astrocytoma.

Her only hope is proton beam therapy in the states. Consultants at Addenbrooke’s Hospital say she could be there next month, hopefully zapping Jeff into oblivion. The treatment, a type of radiation treatment that uses protons, positively charged particles, to destroy cancer cells.

It won’t be available in the UK until 2018.

When the news floored Abbie’s mum, Ali, the unique mother empathy in her Great Yarmouth community swung into action to make that trip possible for all the family; dad Dean and little brother Ashton.

They felt her primal need to make it right for her girl so set out to make it right for her.

Led by Abbie’s aunt, Kelly, they were determined to take away one big worry at a time of unimaginable pressure and anguish for the Boast family – money. They set up a committee and organised events to raise the cash to make it happen.

Donations trickled into a Just Giving page, £5, £10 and £20s. As £10,000 handbags were perched on their own little stools in exclusive restaurants not so far away.

To raise the cost of just one handbag, these women united, driven by empathy and that silent understanding of motherhood, to invest energy, creativity and commitment to help collect, what is for them, a huge amount of money.

The price of a handbag will allow her parents a glimmer of peace of mind while they pray for a future for their beloved daughter who loves to skate and dance. That handbag has been in my mind’s eye since I heard about Abbie, the daughter of a friend and former work colleague.

Parents desperate to save their children long for £10,000, while others are chucking it around on luxury fripperies they don’t need.

From inside the bubble of wealth, the rich perhaps can’t imagine anyone would struggle to raise just £10,000.

But every mother reading this will empathise with Ali’s anguish at her only daughter’s diagnosis.

After our babies arrive healthy, with everything in the right place, we all take our children’s health for granted, until something unthinkable happens.

Abbie’s parents had longed for a baby for many years. Abbie was a long time coming. Their little princess brings them so much joy, blossoming from a cute little girl into a beautiful intelligent young woman full of promise and potential. The self-indulgent and narcissistic that worship conspicuous consumption, the despicable label culture, believe the £10,000 bag gives them status, respect and wins admiration.

How empty that feels compared to the raw love, passion and empathy of those fine mothers throwing themselves into raising a few hundred pounds here and there to help a family save a young life and give them just a smidgeon of respite.

We can all help Abbie and her family, visit https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Littlebirdsbigbattle

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