This Bank Holiday weekend, family and friends of Richard Massey will climb 3 of the UK’s tallest mountains, Pen Y Fan, Snowdon and Cader Idis, to raise vital funds for Cure Leukaemia.
It was just before Christmas 2007, when Richard picked up a virus. Following a visit to his local GP, he was told it was nothing to worry about, yet he could not shake the fatigue.
Richard was a huge sports fan and it was a trip to see his favourite rugby team, the Leicester Tigers, in January 2008 that finally led to a diagnosis. He had gone to the Saturday game with brother Sam but went off to speak to a member of St John Ambulance after feeling unwell.
Following the weekend and after another trip to his GP, this time with a blood test, that that Monday evening there was a knock at the door from an out-of-hours GP who delivered the devastating news to Richard and his family, that he had Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
Richard was taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was told by the consultant haematologist about his condition and was given a 50 per cent chance of survival.
He began chemotherapy straight away and after the first course, doctors said he was in remission. That summer he enjoyed a holiday with his parents, and sister Ruth in Padstow, Cornwall.
But their joy was short-lived.
Following frequent testing, in October that year he was told the cancer had returned.
Richard was given rescue chemotherapy which was not successful. He and his family were then put in touch with Cure Leukaemia and were told about another form of chemotherapy which had shown some promising results but had not yet been fully tested.
Richard underwent the new treatment and it worked – allowing him to have the stem cell transplant he desperately needed and in February 2009, he underwent the procedure.
But he later started showing symptoms of graft versus host disease, which is a recognised complication of transplants where the transplanted cells attack the body’s own cells, and despite quick treatment, Richard’s condition deteriorated so much he needed to be transferred to Intensive Care.
Richard sadly passed away on March 10th 2009, aged 16.
Since his tragic passing, the Massey family and their close network of friends, have continued to raise funds for Cure Leukaemia – and back in 2009, Cure Leukaemia’s annual fun run was renamed after Richard, with ‘The Richard Massey Memorial 5km Fun Run’ taking place in Sutton Park raising tens of thousands of pounds.
James McLaughlin, Chief Executive of Cure Leukaemia said:
“The Massey family have been such fantastic supporters of Cure Leukaemia, ever since Richard sadly passed away in 2009. Over the years they have raised a phenomenal amount of money for the charity, which has helped continue to fund Cure Leukaemia’s specialist research nurses, who bring potentially life-saving treatments to patients suffering from blood cancer, and I wish the team the very best of luck in their 3 mountains challenge.”
Friday 6th May would have been Richard’s 30th Birthday and to mark the occasion, the family have decided to take on this challenge and have already raised over £1,000.
Richard’s Mom Alison told Cure Leukaemia:
‘Sam and Ruth and their partners Terri Ann and James were really keen to mark their brothers 30th Birthday with something memorable and at the same time raise funds for this amazing charity’
Everyone at Cure Leukaemia would like to wish Ruth Massey, Alison Massey, Mark Gibbs, Stuart Gibbs, Jono Gibbs, Mike Gibbs, James Withers, Philippa Gibbs and Nicola Rushin the best of luck with their walking challenge and would encourage everyone to donate by visiting the link below:
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives