Two Cumbrian women are taking on a 10,000ft skydive to say thank you to the charity that is helping a young man close to their hearts through cancer treatment.
Connor Laughlin, 22, of Carlisle, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma – a type of blood cancer – in October last year. Since then he has undergone treatment at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, where he and his family have been supported by specialist staff who are funded by Teenage Cancer Trust.
Now Connor’s mum Tricia Laughlin, also of Carlisle, and his girlfriend Andrea McLaughlin, of Silloth, have signed up to take on a thrilling skydive challenge to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity which supports young people between the ages of 13 and 24 with cancer, and their families, both during and after cancer treatment.
Tricia explained: “It was such a shock when Connor was diagnosed with cancer. You just don’t expect that at 21. He was referred to the Teenage Cancer Unit at the Freeman and has been having chemotherapy every fortnight. The staff have all been amazing, I can’t thank them enough.”
Tricia decided to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust, who fund specialist Teenage and Young Adult cancer nurses and Youth Support Coordinators at the two hospitals where young people from North Cumbria with cancer are treated – the Freeman and Great North Children’s Hospital, both in Newcastle.
“I decided to do the skydive basically because I wanted it to be something really challenging for me, to try to raise as much money as possible,” said Tricia. “I’m an absolute coward – I won’t even go on a ride at the fair. I’m going to be so frightened doing this.”
Connor’s girlfriend Andrea is joining his mum on Teenage Cancer Trust’s Summer Skydive in June. Andrea said: “From day one the nurses at Newcastle could not have done any more than what they have. Not only have they helped any way they can, they have supported all of us through this very tough time. The support the team offers is amazing. I don’t know how we would have managed without their help. So I just want to do as much as I can to say thank you for being there. I’d also like to say a massive thank you to everyone that has and is continuing to sponsor me.”
Connor said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone that’s donated to the charity, whether it be money or a gift for the raffle we are doing. Also a big thank you to everyone that’s supported me through this battle. Throughout my treatment I have said ‘positivity beats everything’ and I will beat this.”
Teenage Cancer Trust provides specialist nursing and emotional support for local young people with cancer – the only UK charity meeting this critical need for those aged between 13 and 24 years old.
Natalie Rutherford, local fundraising coordinator for Teenage Cancer Trust in Cumbria, said: “We rely entirely on donations and fundraising by supporters like Tricia and Andrea, so we cannot thank them enough for deciding to take on a skydive challenge for us.
“At the moment, we aren’t able to reach every young person with cancer. We need support to fund more specialist nurses across the region which will revolutionise cancer care for young people and their families – forever.”
Tricia is holding a raffle towards their fundraising and has already had some fantastic prizes donated. Any locals or individuals who would like to help can contact her at [email protected] or on 07732 028220.
To sponsor Andrea and Tricia, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andrea-mclaughlintct.