Guinness world record for longest loom band
A proud younger brother has broken a world record dreamt up by his cancer-suffering sibling by creating a loom band that can reach the moon.
Three-year-old Jesse Hall, from Oxford, was awarded the Guinness Book of Record for Longest Loom Band Bracelet (team) on Thursday on behalf of his five-year-old brother Skye, who died from side-effects while being treated for cancer last year.
During his treatment for medulloblastoma, an aggressive and cancerous brain tumour, Skye developed symptoms similar to that of an MS sufferer. In an attempt to ease his pain, Skye had to travel to Swindon and sit for hours in a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber.
Loom band-making quickly became one of his favourite ways to pass the time and, inspired by the spacecraft-like atmosphere of the chamber, Skye hatched a plan to make a loom band long enough to stretch to the moon and take him into space.
But when Skye got sicker and his hands became paralysed he had to call on the support of his brother and other children to help him complete the world record.
Skye’s dad Andrew, 43, who teaches PE in Abingdon, said: “We always used to joke that it was a spaceship. He needed to do something when he was in there, so he started to loom.
“Skye just came up with it – I wonder how many loom bands it would take to get to the moon? Let’s loom to the moon mummy! He was so excited.”
“When his hands got bad he said ‘I am still going to do this – let’s get my friends to help’.”
And before he died he said to his brother Jesse: “I’m feeling a bit tired today. I want you to carry on looming for me.”
After his death on August 29 last year, the family decided to take up the mantle of the campaign and visited children in hospitals across the country, who then sent the completed bands back to make one giant chain. The family have had loom bands sent to them from all over the world – including Australia, Japan, Germany, Hong Kong and China.
They then spoke to scientists who managed to calculate that the elastic energy from the loom bands they had collected would be enough to ping Skye’s original band all the way to the moon.
The story has moved famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Prime Minister David Cameron, who remarked: “I was greatly saddened to hear about Skye’s death”.
Skye’s mum Sally, 37, said: “Today is a bittersweet celebration for us. It is wonderful to have finally reached this achievement for Skye, we just wish he was here with us to see it happen.
“As any parent can imagine, every single day is a struggle without him but knowing how many children who are currently undergoing cancer treatment right now, who have contributed to Loom to the Moon, has kept us going.”
Andrew added: “Every single day is difficult, It is the hardest thing to deal with.
“We have had the most wonderful cards and messages and children all over the world have been inspired by his idea.”
The Loom to the Moon campaign has managed to raise £200,000 for the family’s charity Blue Skye Thinking since it was set up in July 2014. Part of this money will fund a new cancer research position at Newcastle University starting in September, as the family believe more research is imperative to help children like Skye.
And on Friday, to mark the one-year anniversary of the charity’s launch, the family will release a special video showing their incredible journey.
Members of the public can see the 56,250,000 loom bands – which at 12,529.40 metres beats the previous record eight-and-a-half times over – laid out on the floor of a warehouse in Abingdon Business Park for the next seven days.