Mother of cancer victim to join Botham on charity walk

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A MOTHER who lost her eight-year-old son to leukaemia will join cricketing legend Sir Ian Botham next month on a walk to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, the UK’s only charity dedicated to research into blood cancers.

Rachel Gadie, from Beverley, will meet Sir Ian and other families at Nostell Priory in West Yorkshire on Saturday, April 14, for the third stage of Beefy’s Great British Walk 2012.

Her son Riley was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in July 2008, aged just eight, and was treated at St James’ Hospital in Leeds.

But he had a terrible reaction to the chemotherapy, which caused bleeding on his brain and left him in a coma for five days. He died on July 19, just a week after being diagnosed with leukaemia.

“Riley was just a really happy child,” said Ms Gadie. “He was loving and caring. He’d never been poorly before; he never even had a day off school.

“I am doing the walk in Leeds because it means so much to me to do things like this and makes me feel like I am doing something to help other families in a similar situation. I do a lot of fund-raising and have raised around £30,000 so far for The Riley Cameron Forget Me Not Fund in association with Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.”

The charity has invested almost £300,000 in life-saving research in Leeds, which is part of the Yorkshire and Humberside Haematology Research Network, a partnership between haematologists and the charity’s scientists.

The partnership tracks all patients with a blood cancer in the area and provides key insights into the causes and development of leukaemia in children.

Sir Ian, the charity’s president, said: “I never forget why I put myself through the pain and blisters. But I need people to sign up and join me on the walk and help ensure that every child diagnosed with one of these blood cancers survives.

“I won’t stop until we beat childhood blood cancers, but I can’t do it without you.”