A grandfather claims a ‘heartless’ company exploited his terminally ill grandson by offering to help build him a garden – then sent legal threats and complained they did not get ‘promised publicity’.
Kevan Adams, who lives in Sheffield, was devastated when three-year-old Jordan Reid was diagnosed with a tumour in June last year after experiencing symptoms such as a swollen neck and sickness.
After six months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiotherapy, the family were sadly told Jordan’s cancer is terminal and there is nothing further doctors can do.
The 54-year-old decided to create a space for Jordan to play in and Davally Garden Services Ltd in Sheffield said they would help by providing the labour for free – but later complained publicity raised by Mr Adams was ‘of little value’.
Kevan Adams, in red, says his grandson Jordan Reid, to his left, was denied the new garden by a ‘heartless company’. Also pictured are Jordan’s father, John Reid, who is next to mother Amy Adams, four-year-old Abi Nicole Reid and grandmother Debra Beatson, right
But Mr Adams says the firm wrote to him on September 8 saying they were ‘concerned that the promised publicity has not been forthcoming,’ after articles about Jordan’s illness were published.
The letter demands they be ‘informed’ so they can ‘authorise’ any further article that mentions their company – making bizarre references to their ‘copyright’.
A week later Mr Adams says he received another letter from the firm about a ‘hurtful and factually untrue’ online review that they believed had been written by somebody close to the family.
It states they may have to ‘respond formally’ if any further ‘defamatory’ comments are made.
After experiencing symptoms that included a swollen neck and sickness, Jordan underwent six months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiotherapy
Managing director Dave Caborn denied exploited Jordan and claims Mr Adams offered them the publicity, adding his company ‘would most likely have taken this job on without the promise’.
Mr Adams, from Perth in Scotland, said: ‘It feels like the company were using our poorly boy to get their name out there.
‘It has been a difficult time for us. It isn’t something that any family thinks they are going to face.
‘We were overwhelmed by the support of the community and what we thought was support from this company.
‘However, to have them turn around and throw legal threats and nasty letters our way is the opposite of what we need. It feels heartless.
‘I try to do my best to give Jordan everything I can. I wanted somewhere for Jordan to enjoy himself and to just be a child.
‘It is bad enough that he is going through this terrible illness never mind some company trying to gain a name and reputation out of it.’
He claims the firm asked him to provide the material needed for the garden in return for the company’s labour, which he agreed to.
He says that he provided all of the artificial glass, sleepers and sand for the garden and that he met all of their requests.
But Mr Adams has since decided against working with Davally Garden Services Ltd after the letters.
He said: ‘Why do some people think they have the right to not allow a young three-year-old boy, with a life-limiting illness, access to his garden because of publicity and their name in lights?’
Jordan was diagnosed with Childhood Central Nervous System atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour (ATRT) last year, which is a very rare, fast-growing tumour of the brain and spinal cord.
After the company agreed to do the work, Mr Adams said he got local press involved to recognise the gesture.
‘Now this company have changed the goalposts to better serve themselves by saying and dictating the way that they are mentioned in articles about awareness to ATRT cancer,’ he said, adding he doesn’t know who wrote the comment the company complained about.
The first letter said: ‘We are concerned that the promised publicity has not been forthcoming, what happened to the Sheffield Star, the BBC, local radio stations etc.
‘We have had no contact and it was part of our agreement with you. We are aware that we got a mention in the “Sixer”, however we already advertise in this magazine monthly so the mention was of little value.’
Mr and Mrs Reid are pictured with their children, Abi Nicole Reid, and terminally-ill Jordan
The second letter said: ‘As a small business we have tried to assist your family (even though the project is not going to be carried out at the child’s main residence. Despite this we were sympathetic to your plight as a grandparent).
‘Despite our offer we were therefore concerned to read the review made on social media earlier this week which we believe to have been made by someone close to your family in relation to this matter.
‘The comments were hurtful and factually untrue. We acknowledge that this post has since been deleted from the site, however should any further defamatory comments be made against us we may have to respond formally.’
Mr Adams claims he met ‘all the verbally agreed obligations’.
‘They wanted to stipulate what went into any article about Jordan and ATRT cancer,’ he said.
‘I need help in trying to get a garden company to come in and finish off what needs to be done.’
Mr Caborn said his company was ‘deeply upset’ to hear of Jordan’s illness and said the firm’s only intention was to help the family.
Jordan has a fast-growing brain and spinal cord tumour. His grandad says he wanted to give him a space where he could be a child
‘Mr Adams approached us at our place of business, rather than the other way round,’ he said.
‘We were told that he had been talking to the BBC and local newspapers about the unfortunate situation affecting his grandson.
‘It was Mr Adams who promised to obtain publicity for our business if we agreed to help, rather than us insisting on publicity before agreeing to do the work.
‘We would most likely have taken this job on without the promise of publicity – one of our directors has had experience of cancer and regularly supports various charities in their works.
‘We were under the impression that the garden would be where Mr Adams’ grandson resides; instead, it turned out to be Mr Adams’ personal garden (to which Jordan has access sometimes).
‘Whilst we agreed to carry out a certain amount of work for free, it was made clear that we would not be able to fit it in immediately because we had a long waiting list.
‘We suggested that Mr Adams might like to approach other organisations instead, who might have needed the publicity more than us.
‘However, Mr Adams said that he was prepared to wait and was more than happy for us to fit the work in around other jobs when we had time.
‘The letter tried to defend ourselves from further action, whilst at the same time pointing out that Mr Adams had not done the things he had originally promised to do.’