Remembering my brother 10 years on
Charlotte’s brother Dan died nearly ten years ago after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and, later, leukaemia. Charlotte shares her memories of her incredible brother and the remarkable fundraising legacy that he has inspired.
It has been said that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken. That we are only truly gone when we disappear from the memories of those who loved us. My brother is one of those men thanks to the love and dedication of all those close to him.
Dan was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in September 2007 at the age of 22. He spent the next year battling the hardest he could, never to complain and never losing any part of what made him special. He was later diagnosed in 2008 with leukaemia and, despite rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, he died surrounded by our family on the 16th of October 2008.
It is impossible to think how many this story may resonate with, how many people have felt such loss and how many people will go through this in the future. Although Dan was not one of the lucky to survive, events held in his name over the 10 years since he passed have attempted to give hope to those who need it.
This October marks 10 years since Dan died, and every year since his passing, two of his closest friends have gone beyond all loyalty and friendship to ensure Dan’s memory is honoured in the greatest way they could.
Over £32,000 has been raised in Dan’s name over the last 10 years. Dan’s love and special talent for football inspired his friends to begin an annual football match around Christmas each year with the pure intent of bringing everyone together to raise a glass and celebrate the amazing guy he was.
Money has been donated not only through charity football matches but with quizzes, raffles, auctions, marathons, bike rides and so much more. Our small community pulls together year after year with donations and kind heartedness, no matter how big or small from people who knew him and those that didn’t.
The money raised has gone towards numerous charities close to Dan and our family’s hearts, including: Blackpool Victoria Hospital, who cared for Dan so well during his treatments; the Anthony Nolan Trust, to show support for bone marrow transplants and donors; Diabetes UK, as Dan also suffered with type 1 from his early teenage years; Cancercare, a local support network who has provided support for his friends and family; Bloodwise, which was then Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research; Make-A-Wish Foundation; Dan’s local football team; and again this year for Bloodwise, the charity closest to battling the disease Dan tried to overcome himself.
There have been 9 charity nights dedicated to Dan. The first was back in 2008, when Dan was still around infecting everyone with his enormous smile and beautiful sarcastic nature. This year, everyone will join together to remember Dan for the tenth year, to raise a glass as we always do and raise money for those still fighting to be here with us today.
Back in 2009, 13 of Dans closest friends cycled from Trafalgar square to Dan’s graveside over five gruelling days. Despite most of them never riding a bike since, they are taking on the challenge once again in Dan’s name and for Bloodwise. But this time aiming to complete 300 miles in just three days, arriving back in Kendal in time for Dan’s 10th charity fundraiser on 14th September.
There is no doubt that Dan was taken too soon at the age of 23. Comfort is rich in knowing the impact he has had on so many lives, just by being the hero that he was: a son, brother and friend who touched enough hearts to maintain this amount of dedication from all who loved him over the decade we have spent without him.
Dan’s friends will be cycling from London’s Trafalgar Square to Dan’s graveside in Kendal in three days to arrive back in time for Dan’s 10th charity fundraiser on 14 September. Show your support.
If you have any questions about blood cancer or would like to talk through any concerns you might have, you can call our Support Line on 0808 2080 888 or send our Support Line Team a message.