A Whitby man diagnosed with incurable cancer on his 47th birthday is set to embark on a fundraising drive in aid of a local hospice, despite his condition.
Kevin Graham, of Eskdale Park, received the crushing news that he has advanced oesophagus cancer and is already undergoing chemotherapy. But he plans to have his head shaved later this month in what he hopes will be “just the start” of his fundraising efforts for Saint Catherine’s Hospice.
“I’m going to lose my hair
anyway due to the chemotherapy, so I thought I may as well shave it all off and try and raise some money in the process – at least that way some good comes out of this,” he said.
“I’ve got to try and be positive, and having this fundraising to focus on helps me do that.
“I know that I’m going to be ill and that the chemo will hit me hard but I’m determined to beat this illness.”
More than £800 has already been pledged to Mr Graham’s fundraising effort in its first week and he is hopeful that more people will donate.
Mr Graham, who is the
assistant manager at the Whitby branch of Jewson builders merchants, said that he has been left touched by the support he has received.
“I feel blessed that so many people have rallied around me,” he added.
“Family, friends, colleagues, customers from work, even manufacturers’ reps, have all been so supportive.
“Jewson, my employer, have been wonderful with me.”
In addition to the headshave, which 13 other people have already committed to, well-known Whitby man Dave Wharton has pledged to have his 50-year-old beard cut off, and Kevin’s niece, Kelly Graham, is planning a sponsored skydive.
Mr Graham’s illness comes after a tragic year for the family. He lost his uncle, Eric Headlam, to asbestosis last spring and his cousin, Paul Headlam, died in November after fighting cancer.
His wife, Susan, also lost her father, Mike Cummins, to cancer last year.
Mr Graham said that both Eric and Paul had had amazing support from Saint Catherine’s Hospice, hence why he was keen to raise money on their behalf.
“You can’t believe that people can be so kind,” he added.
“The staff were there to help everybody. I’d never experienced anything like it in my life.
“It was like a different world. The support we were given was fantastic.”
Saint Catherine’s fundraising manager Carolyn Jackson said that the family’s support for the hospice at such a difficult time was overwhelming.
“To be thinking of others at a time like this is just amazing and we hope lots of people will support them,” she added.
Kevin Graham’s fundraising event will take place at Whitby Rugby Club on February 22 from 2 to 6pm.
Anyone who wants to contribute to the fundraising effort can pledge money via his Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/Kevin-GrahamHeadShave.
Alternatively, people can sign his sponsor form at Jewson in Fairfield Way, Whitby.