An amazing couple who helped found the Chesterfield and Derbyshire Leukaemia and Lymphoma Reserach charity have celebrated the charity’s 50th anniversary with their many supporters.
Ron and Kaylet Smedley, of Brimington, Chesterfield, turned the loss of their son into a lifetime of fundraising to ensure as many as possible would not suffer the same fate.
The couple founded the Chesterfield branch of the Leukaemia Research Fund in 1965 after their eight-year-old son Andrew died following his diagnosis with leukaemia. Kaylet said: “We have come along way since the Leukaemia Research Fund was formed and we can all be justly proud of the part we have played.
“Of the increasing number of patients being diagnosed with blood cancers, some can now be managed by taking one tablet a day. That was inconceivable 50 years ago when there were only four known types of blood cancer and patients died almost as soon as they were diagnosed.”
To mark the 50th anniversary, the leukaemia branch celebrated with a party at Brimington Church Hall, on September 6, with special guests including the Mayor and Mayoress of Chesterfield and two of the Calendar Girls, Tricia Stewart and Chris Clancy, whose fundraising was captured in the Calendar Girls’ movie.
The charity has encouraged people to raise and donate over £1m towards leukaemia treatment and research into a cure for the condition since its launch.
Kaylet added: “There is great optimism among doctors and scientists and let us hope that in the not too distant future we shall see the end of it.”
Mrs Smedley praised fundraisers who raised £24,365.37 between January 2013 and January 2014.
She added: “Our heartfelt thanks go to all those people who have been prepared to give their time and effort to help us find a cure.”
Kaylet has previously been recognised with a British Empire Medal and she was a 2012 Olympic torchbearer.