A young cancer patient and Gloucester Rugby fan yesterday joined Tesco staff and two first team players to launch the Tesco Charity of the Year partnership with the children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent and found out that he'll be the team's mascot this weekend.
Tesco have launched the partnership because they know what a difference £5 million could make.
Gloucester Rugby fan Alex Bayliss from Longlevens is 11 years old and is having treatment for a brain tumour that he's had since he was a baby. Alex's mum, Toni, knows first hand the importance of having a specialist nurse.
"Alex is undergoing chemotherapy at the moment but he has only four months left on a two-year course, so he's feeling very good about that," said Toni. "We've had a CLIC Sargent nurse from day one. Jane MacBean has been our CLIC Sargent nurse since Alex was three, and without her I just don't know how we'd have got through it all.
"She's the glue that holds everyone and everything together in this situation. Doctors seem to talk a different language to the rest of us and it can be very difficult to understand what's happening at times, but Jane has been our translator.
"It would be wonderful if everyone in our situation was able to benefit from a CLIC Sargent nurse like we have done."
"Alex loves all sport, but rugby is his favourite. He's a big Gloucester Rugby fan and is lucky enough to have a seat in the 1873 club enclosure, and he's also been playing rugby since he's started at St Thomas Rich's.
"In fact we have Jane to thank for that as well, because she was key to helping us find out from the experts exactly what Alex could or couldn't do, and thankfully they said he could start playing rugby, which he absolutely loves."
Luke Narraway and Greg Somerville of Gloucester Rugby, two of Alex's playing idols, were present at the event and Alex will also have the honour of leading the side out as their mascot at Sunday's LV= Cup Final against Northampton Saints.
The event will kick off a year of fundraising in Tesco stores, offices and distribution centres across the UK which aims to raise £5 million to fund specialist children's cancer nurses so that more children like Alex can spend more time at home and less time in hospital.
St Oswald's Road store manager Gareth Williams said:
"The money raised from the partnership will help local children with cancer spend more time at home. That's why all my staff are really excited about this partnership and keen to start fundraising!"
Tesco staff and customers will be raising money through a variety of fun and exciting events, ranging from sponsored sky dives and abseils to organising cake bakes and fancy dress days in store.
Donations will be made to the charity from the sale of certain products in store, while a contribution will be made every time a cash machine is used at Tesco. CLIC Sargent will also be holding a national collection outside Tesco stores later in the year.
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Following the 29-26 loss to Harlequins, club captain Billy Twelvetrees spoke of his disappointment that the Cherry and Whites were unable to cash in on the home side's indiscipline and lose a lead on Saturday afternoon.
Number eight Gareth Evans admitted to a collective feeling of frustration as Gloucester lost narrowly at Harlequins on Saturday, but insisted that there are plenty of positives to draw upon ahead of next Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter.
Gloucester travel to the Stoop on Saturday afternoon to take on Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership. The Cherry and Whites make just two changes from last weekend's win over Connacht as they seek consistency and continuity in their play as Nick Walshe told the local media this week.
Speaking to GRTV after the final whistle, Tom Palmer praised the Cherry and Whites concentration and desire to hold on to a narrow 14-7 victory. The second row topped the tackle charts with 19 as he led the home team's resistance.
Supporters who are still to purchase tickets for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm) are reminded that Early Bird prices are only valid until 6:30pm on Thursday evening.
The Gloucester Wheelchair Rugby team travelled to Fenton Manor Complex, Stoke on Trent last Saturday to take part in the final round of the GBWR Super Series of the season, knowing just one win would be enough to crown them Division 3 Champions.