Two Cumbrian families are taking on the ultimate road trip in memory of their children, raising funds for the cancer charities which supported them.
Keith Leggett from Carlisle and his friend Mike Pryde from Little Corby are taking part in ‘Benidorm Bangers’ this April to raise vital funds for CLIC Sargent and Teenage Cancer Trust, two charities very close to their hearts.
The two men, along with pals Mark Pearce and Johnny Wilson, will drive all the way from Carlisle to Benidorm over five days next month in an old car. The four will cross the channel at Dover and drive through France with hundreds of other drivers all doing it for different charities. They hope to reach Benidorm by 27 April.
Along the way there are lots of fun competitions, including best car and best fancy dress, all to try to secure the prize money for the winning car’s chosen charity. Keith and Mike are keen to win having decorated their car with an eye-catching animal theme. They will continue this theme by dressing up as animals and will be sure to gain some attention as they will be the lead car in the rally after the police escort.
The team will be at Brunton Park with their banger this Saturday, 23 March from 1pm before the Carlisle United match, so people can see their amazing wheels and donate to the families’ chosen causes.
CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, is a charity Keith knows only too well. Almost nine years ago his 21-month-old son Oscar died after being diagnosed with a brain tumour just months before. CLIC Sargent was there is support the family.
Keith said: “It wasn’t until we were assigned Karen, our CLIC Sargent Social Worker, and the help kicked in that we realised how much we needed her.
“Oscar was in intensive care, and we were sleeping on the floor next to his bed so we could be close to him. Karen’s first task was to make sure we got a bed. She also gave us a CLIC Sargent grant of £170 to help pay all the immediate and unexpected extra costs we had to deal with, like eating at the hospital every day, and petrol money.
“Oscar spent five days in intensive care, after that we were able to bring him home and cared for him with the support of the hospital’s nursing team, and Karen.
“From the moment we got home, Karen was like a rock to us.
“This challenge will be an emotional rollercoaster, yet fun at the same time. Doing events like these are always bitter sweet but I know Oscar will be doing it with me all the way. The support my family and I got from CLIC Sargent was second to none which we will always be entirely grateful for. This is the first time I’ve done ‘Benidorm Bangers’, and doing it with my friend Mike is extra special as we will also be remembering his daughter Megan who died of bowel cancer.”
Megan Pryde first visited her GP in January 2016 where she was diagnosed with severe constipation and was prescribed Movicol – a laxative. A couple of weeks later, the pain became so intense for Megan that her parents took her to A&E at the Cumberland Infirmary. She spent most of the day in A&E, before she was told by doctors that they suspected she had appendicitis.
It was during surgery for appendicitis that doctors discovered a cyst on her ovary and she was taken back up to the ward. Megan was in hospital for five days where she had more tests and a biopsy. She was later told she had a tumour on her ovary and bowel.
Megan was called back to the Cumberland Infirmary for an appointment with a Consultant Gynaecologist and was told the devastating news that she had bowel cancer. She was then referred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle. There Megan met the doctors and Vicki Lockey, a specialist Teenager Cancer Trust Nurse, who discussed treatment.
Even though it was a huge shock to be diagnosed with cancer at such a young age, Megan was determined to live a normal life as possible. She passed her driving test and successfully completed her two-year NVQ Level 3 course in childcare at Carlisle College.
When Megan was first told she had cancer, she wrote a ‘bucket list’ of everything she wanted to do, whilst she was still feeling well enough. It wasn’t a big list. She wanted to try to help raise awareness of bowel cancer amongst other young people and to raise money for Teenager Cancer Trust as a way of saying thanks to all the amazing doctors, nurses and staff who have helped her and her family during her treatment. Megan died in June 2017, aged 19.
Mike said: “Megan wanted to support the Teenage Cancer Trust from an early stage in her treatment as she had such inspirational support from her nurse Vicky and her coordinator Cara. They both spent such a lot of time with Megan and the rest of our family helping us through the tough times and they always left Megan with a huge smile on her face after every visit. What they do to help teenagers and young adults is without doubt AMAZING.
“We had never heard of The Teenage Cancer Trust or CLIC Sargent before Megan was diagnosed but without their support through our time at the RVI we would have struggled. Steven from CLIC Sargent has been outstanding with his support for Megan and our other daughter Ellie. He has spent time with us all and helped guide us through the tough times. They are all without doubt truly devoted to helping families through the most difficult times.”
Mike and Keith would like to raise £2,000 for CLIC Sargent and Teenage Cancer Trust with their latest challenge. The pair commented: “We’ve already had lots of support from the likes of Hills Garages in Carlisle, Spar convenience stores who are kindly paying for accommodation along the way and Mark Sisson from Cubby Signs, so thank you to these and others who have helped us along the way.”
Dee Tyler, CLIC Sargent Fundraising Engagement Manager for the North East and Cumbria, said: “The Leggetts, together with their friends and family, have been fantastic supporters of ours for a number of years now. They have done everything from climbing Ben Nevis, having ‘wear a wig’ events at work and holding fundraising nights. Mum, Liz, has even started a volunteer fundraising group for us – the CLIC Sargent North Cumbrian Fundraising Group. Their support has been invaluable to the charity in helping us get closer to our goal of helping each and every family who needs us.
“So far in Oscar’s name almost £15,000 has been raised which is a lovely way of keeping this little boy’s memory alive. We rely entirely on charitable donations to fund our vital work and so we can’t thank Keith enough for this, his latest fundraising endeavour.”
Louise Miles, Fundraising Manager in Cumbria for Teenage Cancer Trust, commented: “The Pryde family, like the Leggett family, have raised a huge amount of funds and awareness across the region in memory of their beautiful daughter Megan who selflessly also raised awareness about bowel cancer in young people even at a time when she was so ill herself.
“Teenage Cancer Trust is the only UK charity providing the specialised nursing and emotional support that young people with cancer aged 13 to 24 so desperately need. Every young person with cancer should have access to our specialised care and support but the reality is that not all currently do. Mike and Keith’s challenge will help to make sure we are there for all young people with cancer across Cumbria and beyond.”
Keith and Mike will be donating their car at the end of their challenge to a local orphanage in Spain who are keen to use it and then they are due back in Carlisle at the start of May. This is the month Oscar sadly passed away which makes this journey even more poignant.
Please support Keith and Mike’s Benidorm Bangers by visiting https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LizLeggett2. All monies raised en route will be split equally between CLIC Sargent and Teenage Cancer Trust. For more information about CLIC Sargent’s work go to www.clicsargent.org.uk or Teenage Cancer Trust’s work go to www.teenagecancertrust.org.uk.