A fundraiser for The Royal Marsden Royal Cancer Charity has died suddenly of a heart attack just two weeks before he was to take part in their sponsored charity walk for the sixth time.
Gary Kelly, 48, began walking in the Marsden March when his son Ethan was diagnosed with a rare double Germ Cell brain tumour at just 10-years-old. He received chemotherapy and radiotherapy at The Royal Marsden.
Gary, who worked for Banham Group in Earlsfield who sponsor the walk, signed their press release just days before passing away so he could inspire hope in other sufferers of the disease.
Gary said: “Ethan has come so far with his rehabilitation as he can now walk with the aid of a walker. We spent seven months in hospital, and it took a further nine months for Ethan to complete his rehab. We can’t thank the nurses and everyone enough, The Royal Marsden is amazing.
“I’m always positive, his life isn’t perfect, but he enjoys school and has friends.
“While Ethan is doing much better, there is always a possibility that the cancer will come back, so were trying to live in the moment as we’re not sure what the future holds”.
Gary’s colleagues at Banham walked in his memory on Sunday.
Charles Hallatt, Executive Chairman of the Banham Group said: "Banham are very proud to be sponsoring and taking part in The Marsden March for the third year running.
“All the funds raised on the day for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity helps the hospital to continue its outstanding treatment and care for patients affected by this terrible disease.
“Within Banham, we have several members of staff who have direct links to The Royal Marsden through the care and treatment that they have provided to friends and relatives; including Gary Kelly who tragically died just before the March.
“Our thoughts are of course with the Kelly family.”
Antonia Dalmahoy, director of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, said: “Our thoughts go out to the Kelly family and Banham at this difficult time.”
The Marsden March, which has raised over £8.2 million for cancer research since it began in 2011, will take place on Sunday, March 19.
Two Just Giving pages have been set up: