Legacy of Laura lives on as cancer charities share £30k

Laura Dodds Fund committee members Julie Taylor, Philip Dodds, Kayte Hall and Suzanne Young
Laura Dodds Fund committee members Julie Taylor, Philip Dodds, Kayte Hall and Suzanne Young

A CHARITY fund set up in memory of an Ashington teenager has handed over almost £30,000 to two charities that helped care for her in the last few years of her life.

The Laura Dodds Fund was launched on New Year’s Day last year to mark the tenth anniversary of the death of the 19-year-old.

Laura was killed by a rare form of bone cancer in October 2000, and her family and friends wanted to give something back to two charities that helped her during her fight against the disease, Clic Sargent and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Their aim was to raise £10,000 in the ten months following the anniversary, but they ended up amassing almost three times that target.

Laura Dodds Fund committee members have now visited the new Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at the Great North Children’s Hospital, part of Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, to hand over its half-share of the cash.

The unit has ten beds for teenagers and a recreational penthouse suite with views over the city.

It is also equipped with a pool table, jukebox, craft area, parents’ rooms and complementary therapy suites.

The former Ashington High School pupil’s mum Denise said: “Taking the cheque to the ward in person and seeing some of the nurses who had looked after Laura during her illness felt very emotional.

“However, it was something that we felt was important to do and was a very positive experience in many ways.

“The unit and the facilities that it provides is out of this world.”

The money was raised by a variety of events including sponsored runs, swims and cycles, cake sales, raffles and a charity cricket match featuring England’s Steve Harmison.

Laura’s cousin Sarah Jane Taylor said: “Laura’s family would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved in raising the £30,000 for the fund.

“Together, we have helped children and young people in their fight against cancer and have hopefully made a remarkable young lady, Laura, proud.”

The childhood cancer charity Clic Sargent has also been given its share of the cash, almost £15,000.

Jo Warmington, of the charity, said: “£30,000 is a phenomenal amount of money to raise.

“Our share will make a huge difference to the children and families that Clic Sargent supports.

“To see Laura’s family and friends work together in this way in her memory is testament to what a fantastically close and loving family she was part of and what an amazing young lady she was.”