Friday 5th April 2019
North East and Cumbria
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 Teenage Cancer Trust and CLIC Sargent, two charities very close to their hearts.
The two men, along with pals Mark Pearce and Johnny Wilson, will drive from Carlisle to Benidorm over five days, alongside hundreds of other drivers taking on the same challenge for different charities, and are hoping to reach Benidorm by 27 April. Along the way, teams will compete for prizes such as Best Car and Best Fancy Dress to secure the prize money for their chosen charity - hopefully Keith and Mike are onto a winner with their eye-catching animal theme!
Keith and Mike are driving in memory of their children: Oscar, Keith's 21 month old son who was supported by CLIC Sargent and who died almost nine years ago after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, and Megan, Mike's daughter who was supported by Teenage Cancer Trust.
Megan first visited her GP in January 2016, where she was diagnosed with severe constipation and prescribed a laxative. A couple of weeks later, Megan's pain became so intense that her parents took her to A&E, where doctors suspected she was suffering from appendicitis.
During surgery for appendicitis, doctors discovered a cyst on Megan's ovary. She was taken back to the ward and stayed in hospital for five days while doctors ran tests and a biopsy, before she was told the devastating news that she had a tumour on her ovary and bowel and was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
Megan was referred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, where she met Vicki, our specialist nurse, to discuss her treatment. Despite her diagnosis, Megan was determined to live as normal a life as possible - she passed her driving test and completed her two year NVQ Level 3 course in childcare.
When Megan was first diagnosed, she wrote a bucket list of everything she wanted to do while she felt well enough. It wasn't a long list: she wanted to raise awareness of bowel cancer among young people and raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust to say thank you to all the amazing doctors, nurses and clinical staff who supported her and her family through treatment.
Megan died in June 2017, aged 19. Mike said:
Megan wanted to support Teenage Cancer Trust from an early stage in her treatment as she had such inspirational support from her nurse, Vicki, and her Youth Support 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 Teenage Cancer Trust or CLIC Sargent before Megan was diagnosed but without their support through our time at the RVI, we would have struggled," said Mike. "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."
Keith and Mike are hoping to raise £2,000 for CLIC Sargent and Teenage Cancer Trust with their latest challenge.
Louise Miles, Fundraising Manager in Cumbria for Teenage Cancer Trust, said:
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 raised awareness about bowel cancer in young people at a time when she was so ill herself. Mike and Keith's challenge will help make sure we are there for all young people with cancer across Cumbria and beyond.
Keith and Mike will be donating their car to a local orphanage in Spain once they finish the challenge. They're due back in Carlisle at the start of May, which will be even more poignant for the pair as this is the same month during which Oscar passed away.
You can support Keith and Mike's Benidorm Bangers on their fundraising page, with all money split equally between Teenage Cancer Trust and CLIC Sargent.