Parents pay tribute to Leah through new fundBy Stephanie Cockroft
August 13, 2012
A FUND has been set up in memory of a bright seven-year-old girl who died last month from a rare skin cancer.
Young Leah Wigmore, who had been treated at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital since her birth, died on July 31 after battling with a complex skin cancer since January this year.
Leah’s condition was so rare that she had been taking a £40,000 super drug, ipilinumab, as part of a trial being run from North America, in a bid to find a cure for the fatal illness.
Now her parents Lynne and Justin, as well as staff at the specialist London hospital, have set up a trust in her memory to try to help other youngsters suffering from the same heartbreaking condition.
Any money raised will go towards researching congenital melanocytic nevus – a skin condition with which Leah was born – as well as melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, in children.
Close family friend Kerry Langfield said: “It will be the only fund which exists to research into these conditions.
“Lynne and Justin want to keep working to make sure other families do not go through what they have gone through.
“It is heartbreaking that they had to suffer what they did and they want to do all they can to make sure no-one else experiences the same thing.”
Leah was diagnosed with the rare skin cancer when malignant tumours were found growing on her neck during a post-operative check-up.
She had undergone surgery in November last year to remove a mole caused by the unrelated congenital melanocytic nevus, which she had suffered with since birth.
The youngster’s condition drastically deteriorated and in April this year she became too ill to go to school. Lynne also took off time from her work at Nationwide in Aldershot to act as a full-time carer for her daughter.
Friends and family then rallied around and organised a fun day at Aldershot Traction Club on Leah’s seventh birthday to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The event was attended by more than 1,000 people and included a bouncy castle, rodeo, inflatable sumo suit and face painting.
Along with donations from several other local clubs and pubs, as well as St Michael’s School where Leah was a pupil, friends managed to raise £15,172 for the charity. Leah died just over a month after that event.
Kerry, who was one of the main organisers, alongside friend Maria Lally, said: “We were going to be thrilled with £5,000. We were completely shocked to raise that much money.
“Lynne and Justin did not want all that money which we worked so hard for lost in the hospital system, so they spoke with Leah’s consultant, who suggested setting up this fund. It will be called the Leah Wigmore Fund.”
Lynne has always been a huge supporter of the hospital and told the News & Mail in May: “No-one should have to go through this, let alone such a young child, but the staff at the hospital there make it so much easier. It is at times like this, the really hard times, that you appreciate just how great they are.”
The fund has not yet been set up, but the family asked for donations to the cause, in lieu of flowers at the funeral.
Her funeral took place on Thursday at St Michael’s Church, Aldershot, followed by a burial at the Redan Hill cemetery.
Anyone wanting to donate money to the cause can also send a cheque to Lynne, who is collecting money to send to the hospital. She can be contacted on 01252 673598 for more information.