This weekend, the families of two special former patients, Neil Elwell and Tony de Grey, will take part in a sponsored walk to raise vital funds for Cure Leukaemia in their memory.
Neil Elwell was first diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in December 2007 and following chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant it appeared that he had successfully beaten the disease. Unfortunately, 3 days before his wedding to wife Matilda in February 2010, he discovered that the leukaemia was back and a further course of treatment and bone marrow transplant followed.
In January 2012 Neil became ill again with complications following the treatment to cure the leukaemia and, despite remaining amazingly positive and high spirited throughout his ordeal, his body was too weak to fight and he sadly lost his battle on 6th July 2012.
The majority of Neil’s treatment, including both bone marrow transplants took place at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Throughout the treatment, the care and support that Neil received was second to none.
In 2013, Neil's family and friends took part in an incredible challenge raising over £28,000 for Cure Leukaemia by walking betweem Lord's and Edgbaston Cricket Grounds!
Tony de Grey was 53, married with 3 children and lived in Birmingham. Following a dentist appointment to have a tooth removed, Tony was suffering from severe pain and after collapsing, ended up at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
Doctors at the hospital very quickly were able to control the pain and as a matter of course, because of the pain relief Tony had taken, completed routine blood tests. The results showed that Tony was suffering from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).
Tony was advised by the medical team the devestating news that he was just days away from death. Tony's treatment for AML started immediately. Throughout his treatment, Tony shared his rollercoaster of emotions with the public and was pivotal in helping drive the BBC WM 95.6 Red Alert Appeal which raised over £178,000. His first thought was 'OK, I can deal with this' but once the realisation that AML was blood cancer set in, his next thought was how he would tell his wife and family.
After going through the rigours of cancer treatment, Tony sadly lost his long, brave battle with leukaemia on Friday 5th April 2013.
The sponsored walk will mark the five year anniversary of Neil's death which will be on 6th July 2017. Organised by Matilda Elwell, the walk aims to encourage as many friends and family of Neil and Tony to join in the fun!
On Friday 30th June, the walk will begin at Wolverhampton Civic Centre, where Neil spent much of his working life and also where Matilda currently works. From here, they will walk the 18(ish) miles along the canal to Edgbaston Cricket club (Neil was a keen fisherman and cricketer which is why this route has been chosen). Then on Saturday 1st July the team will walk the 20 mile route back from Edgbaston to Wombourne Cricket Club where Neil used to play. On Sunday 2nd July, the fundraising will be complete with the 6th annual Neil Elwell memorial Cricket match which sees many of Neil's friends and Cricket playing contemporaries coming together to remember him in playing a 20/20 cricket match at Wombourne Cricket Club.
Over 15 people will take part in the walk on each day including many of Neil's and Tony's closest family.
Everyone at Cure Leukaemia would like to wish all those taking part the very best of luck!
The legacy of Neil and Tony will continue, just as they would have wanted.
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives