LOSING a child is the worst thing that could happen to a mother.
But Jacquie Roeder has made sure her daughter Laura’s light shines on through the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust.
Now, however, she is stepping down.
After Laura, 17, lost her battle with cancer 15 years ago Jacquie picked up the fight where she left off.
And now the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust is one of the most respected cancer charities for teenagers and young adults in the country – providing vital funding for research and support.
With backing from celebrities including comedian Catherine Tate and Super League rugby players Keith Senior, of Leeds Rhinos, and Andy Raleigh, of Huddersfield Giants, the charity has flourished.
Jacquie feels she can now hand over the reigns to her husband Malcolm Roeder, and she is stepping down as chairman.
She said: “After 15 years working solidly for the trust it’s time to step down – safe in the knowledge that the charity is in the healthiest position it has ever been.
“I decided, the day Laura died, to pick up the fight where she left off, hoping to raise approximately £10,000 a year to fund research, specifically into cancer in teenagers and young adults.
“However the Trust passed its first £1,000,000 mark in little over 10 years and continues to grow from strength to strength.”
As well as research, the charity also funds projects to improve the lives of young cancer patients while they are undergoing treatment.
Laura, a Greenhead College student, was treated at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and St James’s Hospital in Leeds.
She died in Kirkwood Hospice just two weeks after her 17th birthday.
Jacquie said Laura was “bright and bubbly” and her “outgoing nature never stopped shining” even through her terrible illness – she had four types of cancer.
Jacquie wanted to help other families who were going through the same thing.
And to help alleviate the feelings of loneliness and isolation that young cancer patients experience in hospital.
The charity is about to launch a new an exciting computer program called Chat-World.
The virtual world – on a desert island – will be a place for young cancer patients to escape to using their 3D ‘avatars’ – virtual representations of themselves.
It will mean they can chat in a secure environment to other teenage cancer patients throughout the UK who are going through the same thing.
The charity has been shortlisted for a Third Sector excellence award and is about to launch a two-year research project and a new website.
Jacquie’s husband will maintain the close link between what is now a very successful charity and Laura’s family.
Malcolm said: “Without Jacquie’s dedication and selfless commitment to improving the lives of young cancer patients then the Trust would not be as strong as it is now and we can’t thank her enough for everything she has done.”
The charity will be celebrating 15 years of the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust by holding their annual charity ball, a ‘Crystal Ball’, on October 15 at the Cedar Court in Bradford.
For more information on tickets and corporate packages contact the Trust office on 01484 510013 or email firstname.lastname@example.org