Alexander’s Fund: how fundraising inspired a community to save a life

Exhibited by
Rich Mullens, managing director, Person to Person Direct Ltd.
September 23, 2013
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
April, 2013

SOFII’s view

A wonderful account of how a community rose to an enormous challenge. SOFII is pretty sure that social media played a huge part in spreading Alexander’s story. But it was the determination of local people and the multitude of events that raised relatively small amounts that in the end roared through that target of £255,000.

Creator / originator

Alexander’s Fund.

Summary / objectives

Alexander Novakovic’s parents needed to raise £255,000 in two weeks to send him to the USA for treatment that would save his life.


In November 2012, while having dinner, seven-year-old Alexander complained of feeling unwell. As he stood up he lost the power in his left arm and leg and collapsed. He was rushed to the John Radcliffe Hosptial in Oxford, where doctors said he had medulloblastoma: a malignant brain tumour that had broken up and travelled down his spine.

He responded well to intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment, which finished in March, 2012, but still needed radiotherapy to his brain and spine. His family began exploring the option of proton radiotherapy abroad, which they descried as a much kinder and less harmful treatment.

Eventually, they found the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who said that Alexander would be a good candidate for the treatment and that they had a slot available at the end of April.

But it was going to cost £255,000 and time was running out: they had to have the money in two weeks.

Special characteristics

Alexander’s plight was brought up at a meeting of the Parent and Teachers’ Association at Bedgrove Infant School, when it was explained how much was needed and how little time there was.

The next morning a few mothers got together, started discussing options and on Thursday a cake sale raised £1,100 in one afternoon. A JustGiving page was set up the next day and the first £5 was received. They were the first of what turned out to be a monumental fundraising campaign.

Shops, pubs, businesses and individuals all rallied to the call for help. Within a couple of days most people displayed posters and flyers.

When Alex’s story went viral on Twitter and Facebook, with thousands of people promoting his story, celebrities such as Joss Stone, Lauren Laverne and John Bishop became involved. Sports stars with links to the county also joined in and the local football club held a collection during their last game of the season.

But it was the thousands of events organised by the people of Aylesbury that were the stars. People ran marathons, there were cake sales, a ‘mufti’ day at a school, a garage sale, a spinathon at a local supermarket, ‘wear a hat’ days at various Buckinghamshire schools, a family fun day, an eBay auction of sporting memorabilia, a ‘mums on the run’ event, a fundraising day at another supermarket and a Bokwa fitness session at Bedgrove Infant School, a local resident shaved her head and another spent 24 hours in a tree. Imaginations in Buckinghamshire were at full stretch during April.

Influence / impact

A community rallied to a family in need. Kelly Welch a member of the PTA said the town’s response was ‘humbling and overwhelming. The phrase community spirit has been used I don’t know how many times over the past week but it’s absolutely true. It’s indescribable, the words elated, relieved and shocked are being bandied around, it’s absolutely unbelievable.’

Thousands left tributes on Alexander’s JustGiving page. 


Alexander’s Fund raised £293,000 in less than two weeks and Alexander headed off to Boston.


With plenty of determination it is possible to raise an astounding amount of money in a short time through thousands of tiny amounts.

Other relevant information

You’ll find more fundraising events on the Alexander’s Fund Facebook page:

The bravest boy in Aylesbury.