The family and friends of a Huddersfield man who died from cancer have won a national award for their amazing fundraising.
The group have raised more than £40,000 for several charities after the sad death of Kirkburton dad Ben Jebson and have been named Group Fundraiser of the Year at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards (ANSAs) 2023 in London.
This award is presented to a supporter group that has raised funds and support for leukaemia stem cell charity Anthony Nolan.
Ben was an inspirational dad-of-two who died aged just 35 after a battle with cancer. Back in 2014 Ben, a keen cricketer, was diagnosed with stage 2b Hodgkin lymphoma and, as a fit young man, was told he had an 80% chance of being free of the disease in six months.
Sadly, the cancer proved more resistant to treatment and Ben needed two kinds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, antibody treatment and an allogenic stem cell transplant.
Though he was given the all-clear from cancer in May 2016, he later developed Graft v Host Disease as complications set in as a result of the stem cell transplant. That was the start of a long and horrible journey for Ben and his family and he died in 2019.
Ben left behind a young family, including his wife Lucy, 33, and two daughters, Frankie aged four and Bobbie aged two.
The major fundraising event featured Lucy and eight friends completing an incredible 182-mile sponsored walk from Big Ben in London back home to Kirkburton, raising more than £40,000 for charities that helped Ben and his family during his treatment. Almost £10,000 went to Anthony Nolan.
The walkers bumped into rock star Noel Gallagher who had his photo taken with them. They walked at the rate of just over 30 miles a day to complete the trek in a week. It was called the Big Ben to Burton walk as they started at Big Ben … and Ben was 6ft 3in tall.
Lucy said: “We were blown away when we heard we had won the Anthony Nolan Supporter Award. During our weeklong expedition we became a formidable team who had each other’s back at every up and down and it’s lovely to have this recognised.
“You never know if you might be one of the unfortunate people who need a stem cell transplant as the reasons for needing one are growing as research and development of its uses continues. As a donor or fundraiser it’s a small amount of your time to give someone a chance at a second life.”
Anthony Nolan chief executive Henny Braund MBE said: “Lucy and the team are hugely deserving winners of this award. Their incredible support and passion for our work is a fantastic example of our charity which is built on making lifesaving connections.
“It was lovely to meet everyone and I continue to find myself inspired and humbled by the dedication and strength of supporters like these.
“By raising vital funds and much needed awareness we are curing blood cancer together. We can give families hope and give more people a future.”
Find out more about the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards at www.anthonynolan.org/awards
Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.